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The Student News Site of Loyola University Maryland

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Loyola’s Model UN Club Attends National Conference

Elizabeth Gilmore

Five members of Loyola’s Model United Nations (UN) club participated in the National Model United Nations Conference, a global Model UN event in New York City from March 24-28. According to their website, NMUN-NY is “the world’s largest, oldest, and most prestigious intercollegiate Model UN conference.” 

For every Model UN conference, groups of students from an institution are assigned a country that they debate as for a vast array of foreign policy issues and topics. Elizabeth Gilmore ’24, the club’s president, said that every Loyola student was assigned to represent Syria in various committees that aligned with the topics on the table. The expansive list of topics range from LQBTQ+ rights to nuclear energy.

“You do your research beforehand, you have to write this document called a position paper that documents your country’s stance on the assigned issue…Once you’re there you have formal debate, which is speeches and delegates sharing their positions in a public forum, and then you have non formal debate where you’re able to negotiate,” Gilmore said. 

“The goal of the day is passing a resolution, which is essentially a bulleted list of how your country and other countries believe is the best way to solve the issue at hand,” Gilmore said.

Although Model UN can get competitive, there’s not a clear winning or losing country. Dr. Mary Kate Schneider, Director of the Global Studies program and the club moderator, explained that some conferences give out awards at the end to those who have demonstrated outstanding performance. Awards would go to the students that best reflected the real-life interests and opinions of their countries.

Though the Model UN club is new to Loyola, having been rebooted in the last year, the activity is incredibly popular around the world for students looking to get involved in foreign policy. Dr. Schneider reflected on why Model UN conferences are so important to students.

“It’s a way to interact, it’s a way to exchange ideas and dialogue and get to know people from other colleges and universities. I think that’s really special because it also puts everyone on an even playing ground in a way that sports do not…what that means is Loyola can dialogue with Harvard or Yale or any other participating school,” Dr. Schneider said. 

As someone who participated in Model UN at a small college, Dr. Schneider understands the value of granting schools equal opportunity to participate in large-scale conferences.

Elizabeth Gilmore

Gilmore joined Model UN at her high school after seeing it on TV. Getting the chance to participate in the conference reinforced the idea that Model UN is beneficial to meet people with equal interests outside of your normal circle.

“It’s super exciting being able to be exposed to such different viewpoints and different students and seeing how something that I’ve only ever done in the state of Maryland is such a foreign international practice is so exciting,” she said.

Club treasurer Liam McClure ’24 has collaborated with Gilmore in raising money to attend the conference through tabling at the Boulder Atrium and writing proposals to Loyola SGA. Having done model UN since his sophomore year of high school, he completely agrees with the idea that Model UN conferences help grow community and foster debate among students interested in international affairs.

“It’s such an interesting group of people to be around because they tend to be so knowledgeable and interested in international politics and law. Being around these people…it’s energizing. You learn from other people, other students, and hopefully they learn from you,” McCluresaid.

Sawyer Little ’27 never participated in Model UN until he came to Loyola in January, since his high school didn’t offer it. He met Gilmore during an American Politics club meeting, and she contacted him when a spot on the trip opened up. He emphasized that Model UN is important for students to have a club where they can grow personally and professionally.

“It gives students an opportunity to build experience and practice leadership in some ways, but also work as a group for Model UN. We each individually represent different committees, but as a whole, we do represent one country,” Little said.

Students interested in Loyola Model UN can sign up on The Bridge and follow them on Instagram @lummodelun.

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