The Model UN club at Mount Saint Joseph High School is very popular, with over twenty current members right now. It gains new members every year, and not all are freshmen. The club has been running for a number of years, being run mostly by the students, with Mr. Folmer helping new students to get a feel for the club. I had the opportunity to speak with two people who are very instrumental to the running of the club, Mr. Ryan Folmer and Anthony Bibbo, a senior at Saint Joe. Mr. Folmer is the moderator of the club, along with being the head of the Social Studies department and a 1996 Mount grad. Anthony Bibbo is a senior at MSJ, and one of the Secretary Generals of MUN. Both have much experience with this club, and gave me some insight into what Model UN is really all about.
“Model UN has been around nearly as long as the real United Nations itself,” Mr. Folmer explained. It started out in colleges, with multiple universities coming together to run conferences. While many people only see Model UN as just simulating what is happening at the UN, which is true, that is not the entirety. During meetings, we work on scheduling for events and discussing deadlines for delegates participating in conferences. Conferences are a chance to compete against other people and become the best delegate in your committee. Awards are given out for this, along with who has the best position papers and opening statements. “When looking for the best delegate, the chair should be considering who can make compromises between nations to put out a firm resolution,” said Mr. Folmer. He also said that while everyone will not agree, a delegate should be trying to bring countries together, not trying to stir up conflict.
As the moderator for MUN at Mount Saint Joe, Mr. Folmer states that his goal for new students, along with the older students, is to give people a better understanding of world affairs. He stated that a person’s goal in a conference should be to “work towards a compromise with other delegates”. While in a conference, Anthony says the goal is to “simulate how the United Nations works, and then you’re supposed to work together with your fellow delegates.” This has led to him becoming very successful while debating with other students, and he has become one of the best delegates at MSJ.
Both Mr. Folmer and Anthony agree that Model UN helps students to become better public speakers, something that is essential in most careers after college. I feel that I have definitely become a better orator through Model UN, though before I was always afraid to speak in front of large crowds. Getting up in front of a committee to present your opening statement gets easier over time, and most end up enjoying being able to present their position while in a conference.
Participating in Model UN at any school is very beneficial, but MSJ has done an amazing job helping students to get better using the skills mentioned before. It is also a great way to meet new people who have similar interests to you. Participating can help broaden your view of world politics, along with letting you experience how leaders work together to compromise.