In late March, 17 Ursinus students spent five days in New York City, representing the Republic of Iraq at the 2019 National Model United Nations conference. With several thousand other delegates from all over the world, the students negotiated to find cooperative solutions to problems ranging from climate change and political violence to economic development and equal access to education for all. Chelsey Thomas ’19 served as head delegate and coordinated the delegation’s negotiation strategies.
Since September 2018, the delegates had prepared to learn about the domestic and foreign policy of Iraq and about the history and competencies of the UN committees to which they were assigned. The Iraqi Mission to the United Nations then hosted the students to receive a detailed briefing about Iraq’s policies in the area of terrorism and climate change. Mr. Sarhad Fatah, Minister Plenipotentiary, and his colleagues delivered a presentation and took ample time to answer students’ questions.
As a highlight of the conference, Marcus Mattis, a junior from Boston majoring in International Relations, was able to deliver a speech at the main speaker’s podium in the UN General Assembly Hall. This podium is usually reserved for heads of states and other high-level officials speaking at General Assembly meetings. Mattis chose to speak in support of intensifying efforts to reach the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal #4, quality education. A video recording can be viewed here.
The National Model United Nations conference is one of the largest Model UN events in the world, attracting student delegates from all continents and receiving press coverage in the United States and abroad. Ursinus has a long tradition of sending delegations to NMUN, going back to the late U.S. Ambassador Joseph H. Melrose Jr. ’66.
Ursinus students from any major can participate in Model United Nations. The program is coordinated by the faculty advisor, Dr. Johannes Karreth, an assistant professor of Politics and International Relations.