Model UN team takes first place over the weekend

By Jake Thielen

At last weekend’s Lake Erie International Model United Nations Conference (LEIMUN) in Cleveland, Oakland University’s Model United Nations Club won first place.

Sixteen OU students participated in the conference, which featured representatives from 12 schools, including Miami University, Case Western Reserve and Earlham College. Oakland placed second at last year’s LEIMUN Conference.

Political science professor and Model United Nations Club advisor Paul Kubicek said this is the third year that OU students have participated in Model UN.

“At the conference, students represent various countries on mock UN committees and interact with other students in discussing international problems and what the UN can do about them,” Kubicek said. “Ideally, students will work for some sort of compromise that all nations and delegates can agree upon.”

Several OU students won individual awards for excellence in their committees at the conference as well.

Senior Michelle Lopez won an excellence award for her representation of Mexico on the Human Rights Council, senior Rhiannon Zielinski won for her representation of Russia on the Security Council and senior Justin Clarke won for his representation of Italy on the European Council.

Clarke, who is the club’s president, said the awards are given after each delegate is judged on three criteria.

“First, is portrayal of country, meaning how good do you follow the country’s policy that you are representing,” Clarke said. “Second, is debate and parliamentary procedure, meaning how well you know the rules and use them to debate, and lastly is caucusing and resolution writing.”

Kubicek said the Model UN functions as both a two-credit class (PS 362) and as a student organization. In the class, students prepare for the conference by writing a six to eight-page briefing paper and sample UN resolutions.

“To prepare, students need to know the job of their committee, the issue at hand, as well as the priorities and positions of their country,” Kubicek said.

Clarke said students meet once a week as a class and do a significant amount of research outside of the classroom.

“There are four areas that we focus on to prepare for a conference — know the issue, know the rules, know the committee and know your country,” Clarke said. “If these are all prepared for properly, the only thing that is possible at a conference is success.”

More information on the Model UN Club can be found on the club’s Facebook page, which can be found by searching for “Model UN – OU Chapter.”