Patrick Henry College
NEW YORK CITY—Journeying into the complex world of international diplomacy, Patrick Henry College students and faculty traveled to New York City recently to discover what membership in the United Nations really means. As participants at the National Model United Nations Conference held in New York City, April 11-16, the PHC contingent joined more than 3,000 students and faculty advisors from more than 20 countries at the annual NCCA-sponsored conference.
|Patrick Henry College student delegates to the 2006 National Model United Nations (NMUN) in New York City, April 11-16, 2006. From left to right: (1st row) Joey Piotrowicz, Kelsey Stapler, Kristen Sabella, Adrienne Cumbus, Erica Woodward, Kawika Vellalos; (2nd row) Danielle Small, Katie Lindsey, Grace Morgan, Rebekah Stargel, Taylor Sandoval, Keren McElvy, Brooke Levitske, Rebekah Pizana, Cheryl Banks; (3rd row) Nick Butterfield, Kyle Murray, Craig Drinkall, Kirk Anderson, Annie Wilcox, Eric Johnson, Paul J. Bonicelli, Ph.D., Grayson Haye, and Michael Furlong.
Structured to resemble many of the functioning entities of the United Nations, the NMUN is designed to educate attendees about the United Nations and contemporary international issues facing the world. Each visiting college is given a specific “country designation” and instructed to represent the interests of that “country” before the various UN committees. Students spend several months learning about the UN and their country before competing against other colleges at the conferences. Patrick Henry College students found themselves assigned the nation-state of Kenya and, much as real members, arguing that country’s national interests to an assembly of UN committees.
In their role as Kenya’s appointed UN delegate, PHC students immersed themselves in a range of issues linked to that country’s national debate, and served on a number of committees, including the United Nations Committee on AIDS, the United Nations High Commission on Refugees, Group of 77, the World Trade Organization and the World Conference on Disaster Reduction. Topics of importance to the African nation included arms control, the role of the environment in developing nations, the manner in which countries should manage a growing refugees’ problem, and the role of good governance in democracy.
Along with delegates from other schools, the PHC group lobbied, debated, and negotiated long hours to ensure adequate representation of Kenyan interests in each of thirteen committees composed of 20 to 100 country representatives.
Demonstrating considerable diplomatic skill and leadership during its caucus sessions with other countries throughout the week, the PHC delegation crafted language for UN resolutions it proposed and succeeded in seeing most of those measures passed by majority vote.
Patrick Henry College delegates said the experience served as an excellent opportunity to learn how international bodies operate and, in the demanding arena of international relations, achieve common ground with fellow UN members. Many of the PHC delegates said they are already looking forward to participating in next year’s National Model United Nations Conference. Noted PHC student-delegate Kirk Anderson: “The trip enlightened me as to how the UN works, its goals, and the problems that it faces. I plan on going again.”