“Eritrea is a country with an interesting history. It is diverse with a multitude of ethnic groups with an even religious split between Christianity and Islam,” said David Fistein, C-SC assistant professor of political science and sociology. “Since Culver-Stockton is a small college with a lot of character, I thought it would be proper for us to represent a small country that is interesting and unique.”
The Model UN, which has taken place since 1989, is a non-profit, educational organization that provides students with the most professionally run simulation of the United Nations available to students. College students from all over the United States and around the world take part.
This year’s C-SC Model UN class consisted of five members who acted as representatives of Eritrea: Aaron Bonansinga, junior political science and law major from Quincy, Ill.; Holly Conger, senior criminal justice and law from Kahoka, Mo.; Aaron Fieseler, senior finance major from Bowling Green, Mo.; Carrie Fischer, senior finance major from Quincy, Ill.; and Ryan Johnson, senior criminal justice major from Perry, Mo.
“I decided to take the Model UN course because I enjoyed my time at the conference last year and wanted to have a chance to see the conference again as a returning student instead of a first-time student at the conference. I can say that I enjoyed both times and applied for a position for the conference next year,” said Fischer.
Each C-SC student was a member of a different committee that was responsible for a specific set of problems at the conference. Topics included peace, security, and reunification on the Korean Peninsula, illicit trade in small arms and light weapons, and improvement of the situation of women in rural areas. All issues discussed at the Model UN are based on issues faced by the real United Nations on past or future agendas.
“In preparation for the conference, students practiced a variety of disciplines - history, communication, geography, English and political science. They learned about the history of Eritrea, how to give speeches, the geographical locations of potential friends and enemies, how to write resolution and position papers on their county, and about the politics of Eritrea as well as politics of other countries,” said Fistein.
During the Model UN conference, students gathered in their respective committees and worked together with others to try and write resolutions that could potentially solve problems the country is facing. Students worked to find allies and convince them to sign on to their resolution before it was considered by the whole committee.
“I think the students did very well at the conference considering the initial handicap of representing a small country that is not very popular. By the second day, they had found potential allies, mostly from the African continent, and had dealt with a variety of other problems during the voting procedure in their respective committees,” Fistein said.
Students also heard from to Paul Rusesabagina, the keynote speaker at the conference, who was the inspiration for the movie Hotel Rwanda. The main character, portrayed by Don Cheadle in the movie, is based on Rusesabagina’s real life actions and experiences as a hotel manager who housed more than a thousand Tutsi refugees during their struggle against the Hutu militia in Rwanda. Students also spent time exploring Chicago and attended a dance that imitated the speakeasies of the 1920s.
“My favorite part about the conference was meeting several different people from several different schools and countries. I love meeting new people and talking about how they felt about the conference and what was happening there,” said Fischer.
“I hope the students learned the art of negotiating, giving short speeches, and were able to improve their writing skills, and their knowledge of the history and culture foreign countries. I also hope they gained an appreciation for the complexities of international politics as a result of this course,” added Fistein.
OTHER FEATURED ARTICLES