NSU Model UN members host high school conference
Conference in its sixth year
In November 2018, high school students from across South Florida traveled to NSU to participate in the sixth annual Model United Nations Conference hosted by the Nova International Relations Association (NIRA).
The conference has grown from two participating schools and 20 students in its first year, to most recently seven schools and about 160 students, according to Assistant Professor G. Nelson Bass III, J.D., Ph.D., of CAHSS’ Department of History and Political Science.
“It’s a community service thing - it gets our students working with high school students, and it’s a great showcase for the university,” Bass said.
Bass said the conference serves the dual purpose of showing high schoolers majors they might want to pursue in college, but it also serves as practice for the Model UN students who have to serve as delegates and know the rules of procedure to lead a committee.
“The goal is to pass a resolution that your country would approve of,” Bass said. “Students have to come in and find a middle ground while staying in character.”
Students are assigned to committees that work on a particular issue, including one focused on the fictional idea of nations regulating superheroes. That topic formed the basis of the hit 2016 Marvel movie Captain America: Civil War, and the fictional African nation of Wakanda from Marvel's 2018 Black Panther movie was represented at the conference as part of the deliberation.
Committees also tackle real world problems, such as addressing climate change or dealing with the persecution of minority Rohingya in Myanmar and the associated refugee crisis. Participating students write position papers for their assigned countries before attending the conference. Bass notes that their participation improves public speaking, writing, and negotiation skills. One of the resolutions passed by the end of the day focused on the establishment of an International Green Tribunal to deal with legal cases on environmental issues.
NSU’s Model UN efforts have grown into a full elective, POLS 2400, which was offered for the first time in Fall 2018. The class outlines the skills students need to participate in Model UN, including analyzing global political issues and conducting research on country positions. The course also prepares students for participation in the annual Florida Model UN Conference (FMUN) every October. At the last FMUN conference, the NSU team received four awards for their representation of France and Australia, and for position papers on France and South Africa.
To learn more about NSU’s Political Science undergraduate major, click here.