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Students gear up for model experience at United Nations conference

April 12, 2011

While most Chapman University students are enjoying spring break next week, a team of 17 will be busy debating global issues at the National Model United Nations conference in New York City.

In a lighter moment in Model United Nations class, Bobby Konoske '14 and Danielle Butterfield '11 discuss how to dress for an upcoming trip to New York.

The New York conference is the apex event for Model United Nations students, more than 5,000 of whom are expected to gather in the city that is home to the U.N. Headquarters. Students in Chapman’s Model UN program have been busy this school year competing in regional events and preparing for their role as the Jordanian delegation. While it is an academic simulation, the students say the experience expands their understanding of real-world issues.

“It’s made me think more about government policies, and even though it’s ‘Model UN,’ I still see the dynamics of politics come into play,” says Danielle Butterfield ’11, a political science major and second-year MUN team member. “You have to represent the character of your country.”

As the Jordanian delegation, the Chapman team sees itself as the voice of moderation in a chaotic Arab world.

“They’re the one Arab country that could be reasonable,” says Oren Peleg ’11, a film production major.

But just like their real counterparts, the MUN students will also sit on a variety of committees and tackle a host of issues, from the debate over pharmaceutical patents and the fight against HIV/AIDs to the concern over nuclear proliferation.

The students hope a briefing with the resident Jordanian delegation at the United Nations will be possible during the conference. In May, they are looking forward to a wrap-up teleconference Q&A with one of the United Nations’ Middle East experts, arranged by Don Will, Ph.D., chair and Delp-Professor of Peace Studies and head of the MUN program.

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