Eastern Michigan University offers its students who are interested in global affairs the opportunity to participate in a conference similar to one held by the United Nations.
EMU’s United Nations Student Alliance, or the EMU model U.N. program, will be sending 24 students and two faculty members to participate in the 25th annual American Model United Nations International Conference from Nov. 22 to Nov. 25 at the Sheraton Chicago Hotel & Towers.
Model U.N. can be taken for credit as a class, PLSC 343L, in the political science and international affairs majors department or as an extracurricular club.
Marla Bastien, vice president of the EMU model U.N. and a senior undergraduate student, says the student organization has been doing its research and prepping for the AMUN conference since September.
“Universities from around the U.S and some international schools come together after months and months of preparation to agree on different policies from the perspectives of their representing countries,” Bastien said.
Ryan Al-Sanabani, president of the EMU model U.N. and a senior says the EMU Model U.N. has students not only majoring in political science and international affairs, but also in biology, business, social work, anthropology and language.
“We are open for everybody,” Al-Sanabani said. “Model U.N. is not specific to any major – the effects of this class applies to everybody and anything.”
The EMU Model U.N. meets at 5 p.m. every Thursday in G11 of Bruce T. Halle Library.
Richard Stahler-Sholk, one of the EMU model U.N. faculty adviser and professor for PLSC 343L, has been associated with the group and class for over 10 years. He says he appreciates the educational value both the class and student organization presents to the students at EMU.
“I’ve always been interested in global issues,” Stahler-Sholk said. “The class and model U.N. reinforce each other. The EMU model U.N. is an excellent learning opportunity. It’s experimental learning. It puts you in the shoes of the countries you’re representing.”
Both Al-Sanabani and Bastien are looking to graduate from EMU with a degree in international affairs. Both of them took the PLSC 343L class, and are still are very much involved with the student org.
“You get to participate with global issues with other collegiate-like experts in international affairs,” Al-Sanabani said. “You get the opportunity to obtain a relative expertise in public speaking skills by having to speak in front of hundreds and thousands of students about coming to a consensus on how to solve a problem. It builds you as a person. It’s a good skill to have.”
Bastien said she thinks the EMU model U.N. is good for people who don’t know much about other countries and want to know more about those countries and their perspectives.
“We talk about global issues not just what is going on here in the states, but what is going on around the world,” Bastien said.
Stahler-Sholk and Ebrahim Soltani both teach the PLSC 343 course and advise the students interested in participating in the EMU model U.N. Stalher-Sholk says the class and the EMU model U.N. is to prepare students to participate in model U.N. conferences, inter-collegiate conferences, and simulations similar to model U.N. conferences.
“By participating in this student org, the student can become more self-confident in logically analyzing global problems.” Stahler-Sholk said. “From the perspective of a different country, they get the opportunity of handling a problem persuasively in speaking and in writing.”
Stahler-Sholk said he encourages more students at EMU interested in global affairs to join the student organization, but suggests they prepare themselves to work hard for there are only 15 available slots when enrolling for the course. The PLSC 343 course also requires a pre-requisite course in comparative government, or international politics.
The EMU model U.N. will be holding a lecture and discussion with Betty Kay McGowan, an adjunct professor at EMU from Wayne State University who teaches classes in anthropology and sociology. The event, called International Rights of Indigenous Peoples at the United Nations, will start at 5 p.m., Tuesday in the Student Center auditorium.