posted February 23, 2004

Model United Nations Runs March 4 & 5

On Thursday and Friday, March 4 and 5, Hope College will sponsor its 32nd annual Model United Nations conference. More than 900 students and faculty from approximately 45 high schools will be participating.Acting as delegates from the 191 member nations of the United Nations in two General Assemblies, seven Security Councils, one International Court of Justice (ICJ), and one Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), the students will be taking part in simulated exercises focusing on important current international events.

Among the issues to be discussed are population control, the United Nations and regional organizations, Israel/Palestine, the development of unaligned nations, superpowers and the United Nations, the advancement of the third world, North Korea, Indonesia, Sudan, Iraq, Somalia and Liberia. The International Court of Justice simulation will be seeking an advisory opinion for a hypothetical case involving Hungary, Slovakia and the Gabcikovo Dam; it will be discussing the liability of an environmental crisis.

Model United Nations is designed to give high school students an opportunity to take on the roles of professional diplomats with the goal of achieving a particular country's national objectives, while fostering a desired international consensus for real solutions to questions facing them. The department of political science at Hope College sponsors the event.Participating students have been working with their high school advisors for several weeks in preparation for the conference, and have been identifying the current issue positions of countries they have chosen to represent. During the conference, they will share knowledge with their peer delegates, striving to attain solutions to international problems.

ECOSOC, Security Council, and ICJ members begin their sessions on Thursday evening, continuing all day Friday. General Assembly members arrive on Friday morning, debating throughout the day.

The Hope College Model United Nations is organized by students in a political science course aimed at the understanding of international politics and the United Nations' role in international disputes. The Hope students serve as session chairpersons and perform other administrative tasks throughout the formation and execution of the event.

The Secretary General for this year's conference is junior Stephanie Szydlowski, a political science/communication major from Muskegon. Serving as Deputy Secretary Generals are junior Jonathan Hecksel, a political science major from Flint, and senior Caleb Sheng, an English major from Brighton.

Sophomore Nicholas DeKoster of Hudsonville, junior Jake Kain of Williamston and junior Lindsay White of Traverse City are the directors of the General Assemblies. Senior Matt Buursma of Zeeland and junior Becky Knooihuizen of Grandville are the Security Council directors, while sophomore James Grandstaff of University City, Mo., is the director of ECOSOC. The International Court of Justice is directed by senior J.K. Granberg-Michaelson of Oakland, N.J.

Students involved in the General Assemblies are the following: senior Kenneth Bart of Jenison; junior Kari Chase of Winfield, Ill.; sophomore Justin Fitzgerald of Holland; senior Sarah Gonzales of Holland; junior Amy Huizen of Jenison; junior Jeremy Karel of Grand Rapids; senior Kevin Koster of Hudsonville; sophomore Emily Mills of Hudsonville; junior Frank Plodzik of Coldwater; junior Travis Ruch of Grand Rapids; and senior Tiffany Zylstra of Batesville, Ark.

Participating in the Security Council sessions are: senior Dmitri Brown of Zeeland; sophomore Meghan Coffey of Alexandria Bay, N.Y.; sophomore Michael DeYoung of Holland; junior Samantha Halladay of Reed City; sophomore Amy Heuer of Carbondale, Colo.; senior Adam Heyns of Holland; sophomore John Hoffman of Scotia, N.Y.; senior Randi Ihrke of Oxford; sophomore Sarah Jared of Petoskey; freshman Charlie Knooihuizen of Grandville; sophomore Joseph Kopp of Farmington, Minn.; sophomore Philip Lepper of Midland; senior J. David MacKinnon of Grand Rapids; junior Meredith Mick of Roscommon; freshman Scott Neckers of Grand Rapids; junior Eric Post of Hudsonville; freshman Jen Pyle of Hinsdale, Ill.; sophomore Kurt Pyle of Zeeland; and sophomore Jenny Smith of Wixom.

ECOSOC participants are the following: junior Catherine Brinks of Zeeland; junior Quyen Do of Holland; senior John Vega of Holland; sophomore Caleb Walcott of Brookfield, Wis.; freshman Xingwen Wu of New York, N.Y.; and freshman Tiffany West of Decatur.

The following participants are involved with the International Court of Justice: senior Benjamin Byl of Shelby; freshman Brian Miller of Tecumseh; and senior Trevor VanDyke of Traverse City.

Dr. Jack Holmes and Dr. Joel Toppen of the college's political science faculty are serving as faculty advisors for the students.