KOKOMO, Ind. – Four Indiana University Kokomo students were among the top delegates at the Model United Nations (U.N.) Conference at the University of Indianapolis.
Bechel Crew, Scircleville; Katelyn McMillan, Lebanon; Ely Page, Kokomo; and Marcus Pruitt, Topeka, were among about a dozen students selected from more than 100 participants as best delegates at the event, in which they were assigned a country to represent, and a committee in which to debate current, relevant U.N. topics.
McMillan noted they competed well against teams from much larger schools.
“I was proud to be part of IU Kokomo,” she said. “It was fun to be on a team that took it seriously, and was well-prepared.”
Todd Bradley, associate professor of political science, teaches the Model U.N. class, which competes each year. The lessons they learn go beyond how the U.N. works.
“Students learn how to negotiate, compromise, and communicate effectively in writing and verbally, while also studying real-life issues impacting countries around the world,” he said.
The 24 students began preparing for the experience in August. Teams were assigned a country in the U.N. Security Council, such as the United States, China, France, the United Kingdom, Cote D’Ivoire, the Dominican Republic, Germany, Indonesia Kuwait, Poland, and South Africa. They then began learning about the issues impacting their assigned country, and how they would respond to those issues.
“The goal is to get everyone on the same page without sacrificing your country’s values,” said McMillan, who was on a team representing China. “You have to make your voice be heard. We researched current topics in international news, and had to know it inside and out. It’s like a debate.”
Page, who represented the U.S., said the experience also teaches how to work with people you’ve just met, to accomplish a goal.
“Everyone comes in with goals for their country, and some of those conflict,” he said, adding that he dealt with students representing a country that is not usually an ally. “Technically, they aren’t friendly to the U.S. on a geopolitical scale, but we were able to interact with those students from other universities, to broker, wheel and deal, and make compromises so everybody is able to get what they need.”
Sometimes it meant arguing in favor of something you would not support in real life, said Pruitt, who was also on the China team.
“There were positions I didn’t agree with, but to be effective as a Model U.N. delegate, you have to argue them just as passionately as you would something you agree with,” he said.
Crew noted the benefits go beyond the classroom.
“This trip did a lot for me personally,” he said. “I look around the room, and I don’t see strangers anymore. I see friendly faces that I will be glad to see throughout the rest of my IU Kokomo experience.”
Other participating students included:
Bedford, Texas: Kristina Moshelova
Flora: Brandon Michael
Danville: Matt Simmerman
Elwood: Dylan Rawls
Gas City: Nicklaus Richards
Greentown: Jessica Cox
Kirbyville, Texas: Alan Harshbarger
Kokomo: Gabby Duncan, Jensen Freeman, Matthew Hawk, Sawyer Reynolds, Curtis Siler, Aaron Stanley
Logansport: Flor Hernandez, Gavin Newton
Marion: Victoria Hamilton, Matthew Lakes
Rochester: Paul Williams
Russiaville: Mackenzie Damon
San Antonio, Texas: Evan Tamez
Indiana University Kokomo celebrates 75 years as north central Indiana’s choice for higher education.