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Rhodes Delegation Take On United Nations Roles at Conference in D.C.

Publication Date: 11/14/2012

Six Rhodes students recently participated in the National Model United Nations (NMUN) conference in Washington, D.C. The Rhodes delegation, along with nearly 500 other college and university students from around the world, simulated what it is like to be part of the actual United Nations. The Rhodes delegation represented Cameroon on committees including the General Assembly, the Economic and Social Council, and the International Atomic Energy Assembly.

International Studies Student Associate and Model UN Coordinator Jon-Cody Sokoll ’14 helped organize the trip and attended the conference. Others who participated in the conference include Joslyn Hebda ’14, Ben Evans ’14, Katie McCoid ’13, Lizzie Williams ’14, Rhianna Taylor ’15, and Jon-Cody Sokoll ’14. Faculty Advisor Dr. Barron Boyd also attended.

“I really like going to these conferences and meeting other college students who are passionate about solving public policy issues,” says Sokoll. “When you travel to a conference like this, you’re introduced to a variety of people and ideas. In D.C. for example, I had an extended conversation with a student from Mexico about starting a Model UN program there.”

The Rhodes delegation was awarded an Honorable Mention for its work at the conference. Sokoll says that one of the most interesting parts of the trip, however, was getting home. When the group’s flight was unexpectedly cancelled due to Hurricane Sandy, students decided to rent a van at the last minute and drive nearly 14 hours through the night to get back to Memphis.

“It was definitely a bonding experience,” he says. “We fit seven people into a seven-person van, plus all our luggage, and just drove straight through. It was quite the adventure.”

Each year, Rhodes′ Model United Nations rotates which conferences to attend. Sokoll says that the team accepts applications for each trip, and so the participants are constantly changing and securing a spot on the team is competitive. “This was the first time we’ve attended NMUN in four years. The benefit of attending this conference is it closely simulates what participating in the actual United Nations is like. You’re sitting in big committee rooms with 50-100 people, and addressing issues that the UN is currently addressing.”

The MUN team is one of three parts of the MUN program at Rhodes. The first is the Model United Nations class, International Studies 133, which is a one-credit class where students are introduced to MUN. The second is an annual conference that Rhodes hosts for high school students in the spring, called Mid-South Model United Nations, now in its 32nd year. Sokoll expects anywhere from 275-350 high school students at this year’s event, which will take place February 15-17, 2013 on campus.

Sokoll says there are benefits to each of the varying aspects of the Rhodes MUN program.

“With MUN, people get an introduction to public speaking and international issues, and to a way of thinking that you wouldn’t normally encounter because you’re representing a country that isn’t necessarily your own,” he adds. “Having a cultural perspective that isn’t your own really allows you to understand people in a new way.”

(information compiled by Rhodes Student Associate Lucy Kellison ’13)

Tags: Campus Life, Honors, Students

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