Model UN travels to crisis committee conference

Ten Radford University students will test their skills of diplomacy at the fourth University of North Carolina Model United Nations Conference (UNCMUNC) Feb. 6 - 8.

UNCMUNC brings Model UN participants from universities around the region together to tackle diplomatic issues in crisis committees, where students are given a historical scenario, background research and the task of solving the problem. These events have become popular with Model UN conferences around the country.

"By definition, crisis committees are usually small bodies brought to deal with an issue of immediate importance," said RU Model UN President Klement Camaj. "The real attraction of this committee is that everything is driven by the delegates and that there are no set rules of how one must respond to the issue."

This year's UNCMUNC committee scenarios vary from the historical or real world, such as "Wall Street, 1980s" and "Center for Disease Control," to the fantastic, such as "The Hunger Games: The Hand of the Capital" and "JCC: Somalia 2035."

Camaj, a senior political science major from Los Angeles, will participate as a member of the Soviet Union's Politburo in the 1950s. 

"The most crucial part of the preparation is heavy research of the topic that we are discussing," he said. "We have to prepare for the unexpected, the surprise factor."

This will be Radford's second intercollegiate Model UN event. At the Carolina's Conference in Charlotte, North Carolina, in October 2014, the group won three awards: Best Delegate on the historical Security Council dealing with the Rwandan Genocide for Camaj; Most Improved Delegate on the General Assembly Third Committee for Nelly Abdul; and Honorable Delegation for the whole group, acknowledging their contributions as newcomers.

Paige Tan, chair of the Department of Political Science and Model UN adviser, will accompany the students to Chapel Hill.

"Students need to know their politics," Tan said of the challenges at hand. "They also need to know how to lead, negotiate and persuade others. Most importantly, they must be able to be creative in reacting to the crises that the conference organizers throw at them."

The RU trip to UNCMUNC has been funded by the Offices of the Provost and High Impact Practices.

Feb 3, 2015