By Dia Gill | Web Managing Editor
This past weekend, February 2-4, members of Model United Nations competed at Notre Dame University’s second annual Model UN conference. Students had the opportunity to debate in simulated UN committees with the goal of passing resolutions on different issues. Beyond UN organizations, the conference also allowed students to participate in historical or non-United Nations simulations like Louis XIV’s Cabinet, the Chinese Politburo and the U.S. Senate.
Senior Brad Hancock was able to participate in the U.S. Senate, where he was tasked with debating and passing resolutions on health care and poverty. He noted the differences between a traditional Model UN committee and a simulated version of the senate.
“In the senate political parties were a major factor, but they are non-existent in the UN,” he said. “I played the part of Lindsey Graham, who is a Republican senator from South Carolina. To prepare, I did a lot of reading on the more intricate details of healthcare and poverty, and I looked at Lindsey Graham’s voting record on those issues.”
Over the course of the weekend, Avon’s delegates spent about 13 hours in committee sessions. On Sunday morning, some committees finished debating early and passed the time in different ways.
“On the last day after we’d solved all of our issues, we were able to have some fun. I got into a Christian rap battle with Rand Paul and was subsequently voted as best rapper by the United States Senate,” said Hancock.
Junior Reese Chesher participated in Louis XIV’s Cabinet, a committee that focused on the 17th century French king and the politics of France at the time. Due to the nature of the committee, Chesher found himself constantly tasked with solving historical crises.
“I’ve always been a really big fan of King Louis. He controlled France as one of the most absolute monarchs of his time, completely submitting all lower nobles underneath him and ruling a starving peasantry all while still expanding his boundaries. The cabinet consisted of eight of his most trusted advisors, me being his younger brother the Duc d’Orléans. We had to solve many problems with France at the time, including the Huguenot population and later a Franco-Spanish war that was fought throughout the conference,” he said.
To prepare for the non-traditional Model UN role, Chesher pulled from his course work as well as resources provided by the conference.
“I had prior knowledge of my topic, Louis XIV, from [AP European History] as well as extensive research and notes, so I felt confident that I knew what I was talking about,” he said. ” I used all resources my chair sent to me as well as the background guide that gave me details about what happened prior to our starting time as well as what may or may not come. I also did extensive research on my character to see what his plans were and the personality of him.”
Senior Mark Henderson represented a member of the Chinese Politburo, a group of 25 politicians that oversee the Chinese Communist Party. He won the best delegate award in his committee.
“It was completely different from representing any country in [Model UN]. In the Politburo, I could speak freely about things considered blasphemous in the western world, such as stripping rights from groups or censoring free speech,” said Henderson.
All in all, the club came home with six individual awards and the title of Best Small Delegation.
Awards and honors:
Ruhan Syed- Outstanding Delegate (Russian Federation) in the Security Council
Brad Hancock- Honorable Mention (Lindsey Graham) in the United States Senate
Ray Gosselin- Honorable Mention (India) in the G20 Summit
Reese Chesher- Honorable Mention (Duke of Orleans) in King Louis XIV’s Cabinet
Dia Gill- Best Position Paper (Russian Federation) in the World Health Organization
Mark Henderson- Best Delegate in the Chinese Politburo