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Students attend 28th Annual Model UN conference

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The students from the American Model United Nations class taught by Meg Rincker, assistant political science professor, presented their work in front of over 1,400 students, faculty and professors at the 28th annual American Model United Nations conference in Chicago from Nov. 18 to 21.

Every university participating in the conference must represent the interests of their assigned country regarding critical global issues, and this year PNW represented India.

Through research, students looked at the current state of their chosen topic and constructed a plan to address a situation regarding their topic. For example, students might be asked to observe the economic situation of their country and create and implement a budget strategy.

Kylie Smolar, senior political science major, said it’s important to understand the demographic and composition of a country when making decisions.

“India has a population of 1.3 billion people who speak hundreds of languages and identify as various ethnic and religious groups. Therefore, the situation is incredibly complex and demands sincere thought,“ Smolar said.

Smolar prepared for the conference by creating a binder with all the information regarding her topic and by coming up with several opinions on how to implement and change the current status.

“Some documents are hundreds of pages long, but you have to know the material and be confident in it because otherwise people will not agree and join your cause,” she said. “However, the biggest challenge is getting other countries to agree and join your cause. This is my mission when I go to the conference. Therefore, I need to know the data and the specifics.”

In order to prepare her students, Rincker’s curriculum involves assignments that encourage good teamwork and help her students develop their critical thinking and public speaking skills.

Patrick Sean Irwin, student in Rincker’s class, said American Model United Nations and Rincker focuses on honing the teamwork skillset because it is essential when working with someone one does not know.

Rincker’s students also benefit from frequent travelling in order to broaden their perspectives . Earlier this semester, Rincker’s students traveled to the Council on Global Affairs, a research institute in Chicago, where they attended a presentation on the current status of TransAtlantic Partnerships and met with the Consulate General of India.

They also traveled to the Dominican University in River Forest, Illinois, to practice a U.N. simulation and conference etiquette with other students.

Smolar aspires to work in foreign service for the U.S. Department of State and said the model United Nations has improved her research and data gathering abilities. Smolar said she also learned about the technical side of policy making.

Irwin said he also benefited from Rincker’s course.

“American Model United Nations has given me greater ability to work in a team to get something done,” Irwin said. “It also taught me that while I may not be best friends with someone in my professional life, that shouldn’t bar me from pursuing civil relationships with that person.”

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