Cedarville University’s Model United Nations Team at the recent Dayton Model United Nations Conference: Dr. Frank Jenista (advisor), Kimberly Edlund (captain), Colby Mathews, Jack Gray, and Timothy Sparks.
by Kara Steinman
March 22, 2002
Word of an international crisis reaches your desk in the United Nations Headquarters. How will you react? How will you respond to the reactions of other nations? A four-member Cedarville University team recently had to come to grips with such questions at the collegiate Dayton Model United Nations Conference (DAYMUNC).
At DAYMUNC a crisis situation or global issue is presented to the student “delegates,” and they must react just as their assigned country would. In the three-day-long conference, students exercise skills of diplomacy, leadership, persuasion, negotiation, speaking, and writing, to come up with a written resolution that all “nations” can agree to and pass. All the while, a committee judges participants on their teamwork and ability to represent their country.
With two students assigned the country of Ireland and two the Philippines, the Cedarville team spent three weeks before the conference gathering all the facts they could about the political and diplomatic stances of those nations. Their hard work paid off, as senior Kimberly Edlund (Cedarville, Ohio) and sophomore Jack Gray (Juneau, Alaska) earned First Honorable Mention and Honorable Mention, respectively. Juniors Colby Mathews (Bedford, Ind.) and Timothy Sparks (Toledo, Ohio) also represented their nations well.
Edlund, who is team captain, found DAYMUNC to be a challenging experience. “We can talk about global issues in class, but we are talking from an American standpoint,” she remarked. “Model UN forces us to step outside the American viewpoint and see what other countries experience.”
This understanding of other countries is essential in today’s world, according to Cedarville Professor of International Studies Dr. Frank Jenista. The former American diplomat explained, “No matter your major or GPA, if you don’t know what’s going on in the world and can’t communicate effectively to people who are different from you, you aren’t headed for success in the 21st century.”
He continued, “By preparing students who understand other cultures, are comfortable with the cross cultural environment, and most importantly can communicate effectively to people from many different worldviews, we’re preparing our students to carry out much more effectively Christ’s command in the Great Commission.”