By Olivia Montes
Elm Staff Writer
Washington College’s Model United Nations club is known for crossing country lines to debate international issues, but their recent trip to the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia kept them a little closer to home.
Now in its 52nd year, the annual University of Pennsylvania Model United Nations Conference addresses often-overlooked problems facing our world, according to senior Josh Peterson, president of the International Studies Council and head delegate of the conference itself.
“The overall goal for this trip is for our students to enjoy the experience of putting their skills to the test against the best in the nation at debate and policy creation,” Peterson said.
This conference is one of two events that the team attends annually.
While at the conference, WC members competed in a variety of committees as delegates from Chile and Slovakia.
“Our team is representing Slovakia and Chile in different committees, and we work with other students within the structure and style of the UN to write resolutions that look to solve problems such as illicit drug trafficking and food insecurity,” said senior and club treasurer Tyanna Baker.
Other issues addressed in debate included the Venezuelan political crisis, cryptocurrency, and Russian disinformation in Eastern Europe.
Additionally, WC students had the freedom to mingle with other student delegates and learn from their experiences.
“Every MUN conference brings something new, and this one was no different. I saw old friends from previous MUN conferences and made so many new ones that I’ll see in years to come,” Baker said.
According to Peterson, the conference is an opportunity to cultivate communication and diplomacy skills outside of a formal debate atmosphere.
“This debate, as well as the networking opportunities with other students from around the country and around the world, always provide our students with valuable memories and the ability to practice their diplomacy skills,” Peterson said.
The team also hopes to be recognized for their ability to debate with and against other students from different parts and regions of the world, as well prepare for future commencements, conferences, and events.
“Our students have the capacity to win a number of awards in their committee,” Peterson said in anticipation of the event.
In the end, however, Peterson believes that experience is more important than individual accomplishments.
“Our real focus is learning from this experience and being able to really apply what we learned here to the World Model UN conference in the Spring,” he said.
Baker reflected on the lasting impact of gaining an awareness of international social, political, and economic issues.
“Model UN has given me a new perspective on the global issues that we face as a world, as well as a drive to become one of the people who work to solve those issues,” she said.