Model UN Experiences Montreal

Emily Anderson

Thirteen Colgate Model United Nations members just returned from the McGill Model U.N. Assembly in Montreal, Canada. From January 27 to 30, these students played a vital role in the conference, known the “McMUN,” which is the second such event Colgate’s chapter attended this year.

The McMUN, which is the premiere university-level model U.N. simulation in Canada and one of the most prestigious in North America, welcomed 1200 student delegates. The assembly allowed students from across North and Latin America, Africa and Europe to engage in discussions and activities designed to simulate those of the real U.N.

The conference offered delegates 23 committees in which they could participate, such as the General Assembly, the Economic and Social Council, numerous specialized agencies and crisis committees. This assortment provided a dynamic experience for the delegates, as it catered to many diverse interests in the realm of international affairs.

President of the Colgate Model UN sophomore Brandon Greene said that the group traveled to Montreal without prize-winning aspirations but rather with the goal of developing and refining skills in preparation for a competition in March. However, sophomore Dan Prial, one of Colgate’s delegates, won Best Delegate in his committee, which was dedicated to post-conflict development. This distinction is an especially significant achievement because he was representing “Rights and Democracy,” which is a Canadian non-governmental agency, as opposed to a nation.

More than just a personal triumph, this award represents the dedication and preparation that each member sacrifices to the group.

“We prepared in every way we possibly could,” Greene said.

Commitment to the Model U.N. is quite involved and includes meetings each week. At the beginning of the semester, each member is assigned, and must research, one or more countries that he or she will represent.

“Topics [of the week’s debate] are emailed prior to each meeting so that members can research and develop opinions to be voiced,” Greene said. “This allows them to formulate policies on each of their countries, and it also allows them to understand the opinions and stances of other countries when we travel to conferences.”

Essentially, the purpose of the Colgate Model U.N. is to provide an opportunity for students with interests in international affairs to engage in debates with other students. In addition to traveling to international competitions, the group also raises funds to bring speakers to campus. They donated money towards Fareed Zakaria’s appearance, scheduled for later this semester, and are looking to coordinate the appearances of speakers with considerable knowledge about, and influence on, international issues.

The McMUN provided a very enjoyable and beneficial experience for the Colgate Model UN.

“The conference was extremely well-run, and it provided some of the newest club members the opportunity to experience a college Model U.N. assembly for the first time,” Greene said.

Visiting Quebec and the city of Montreal was an essential part of the experience. The francophone city is an amalgam of North American and European culture and the McMUN organized events for the delegates to experience its eclectic offerings. The conference sponsored social activities for students to partake in the city’s nightlife, including visits to pubs, lounges and clubs. It also coordinated meal discounts at a variety of ethnic restaurants in the city. The Colgate group took full advantage of this opportunity.

“I think we ate a different type of food at every meal,” Greene said.

The McMUN provided a decidedly extraordinary and stimulating academic and cultural adventure for the Colgate group.

“The variety of things we experienced was astounding,” Greene said. “The interaction with students from all over the U.S., Canada and schools from the Philippines and Germany offered something that left lasting impressions on many of our delegates. The things we learned at the conference also allow students to bring that insight to the classroom, enriching the overall experience for all Colgate students. We’re empowered with the opinions of all the nations of the world.”

The Colgate delegation hopes to build upon their experiences in Montreal at future competitions. They plan to attend the World Model U.N. Conference, which will be held in Edinburgh this spring.