Model UN team competes in Toronto

Brett Geschke is representing the Republic of Turkey on a Security Council in Toronto this month.

Geschke, a senior political science major at Oakland University, isn’t a citizen of Turkey. Instead, he’s a member of the OU Model United Nations club.  

The group is attending the North American Model United Nations conference in Toronto Feb. 18 – 20. 

MUN, which is both a class and a student organization at OU, offers students the opportunity to discuss international issues in a mock United Nations setting.

The class, PS 326, is offered each semester for two credits, although some students who are involved are not enrolled in the class.

“There are also some members of the club that do not take it for credit, and simply participate because they gain so much through their research, practicing their delegating skills at weekly meetings, and of course the conferences,” Geschke said.

At the conference, students are placed into committees where they discuss the issues at hand as the specific country they’re representing. 

The group competes in one conference each semester.

During the upcoming conference in Toronto, Geschke will represent the Republic of Turkey on the Security Council. He speculates that important topics of discussion for the Security Council will be the current situations in Haiti and Iran. 

He said that the majority of teams competing at this conference are from Canada.

At the Lake Erie Model United Nations Conference last October, the OU team won second place out of all of the teams in attendance.

“The reason for that award was the seven individual awards won by delegates from OU, representing numerous countries and on a few different committees as well,” Geschke said.

Several of the students, including Geschke, received the highest possible ratings at the conference. Geschke also received the chairman’s gavel, which is given to the top delegate in the Security Council.

He credits his success to knowing how to behave both in discussion and in other aspects. 

“Being able to articulate your position on a given issue is the most important skill a delegate can have while in the committee, but being able to gain support for your ideas and write them down in resolution form are key as well,” Geschke said. 

MUN is open to anyone, regardless of major.

“I think any student that wants to improve their ability to critically research, improve their public speaking skills and begin to professionally communicate on a high level in a competitive setting would enjoy participating in the Model United Nations club,” Geschke said. “The conferences we go to are so much more than the actual discussions in the committees. Everyone gains more knowledge on current events and international issues as well.”