No problem is too big for these students.
Six West Virginia University students will join others from around the world at the European International Model United Nations to tackle issues of global hunger, poverty, human rights and nuclear policy, among others.
The conference will be held in The Hague, Netherlands July 5-11.
Each student at the conference will represent a country different from their own. The students will be asked to sit on a particular council, where they will try to come up with a solution to three world problems.
“Students are asked to role play the country they are representing and are thus pushed to understand the logic and perspective of their country’s foreign policy,” said Barnette Professor Joe Hagan, director of the International Studies Program at WVU.
Click the arrow below to listen to Hagan's description of the conference.
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The WVU students attending the conference were chosen after a competitive application process. Each student was evaluated on their academic record, a written essay and they were required to have some type of international background.
WVU students will represent Morocco, Peru, Romania, Spain, Bosnia and Norway. They will sit on the Economic, Social, North Atlantic and Human Rights councils.
Hagan and Corey Farris, director of Housing and University Apartments, will travel to the Netherlands with the students. The trip is sponsored by WVU’s Office of Student Affairs and the International Studies Program.
The trip, which was first taken by WVU last year, is designed to provide participants with an international experience early in their educational career, and to encourage them to study abroad.
“I think it is important for every college student to get an international experience. ? It is important that they look at our own country and understand the issues the United States faces, and to view that from the perspective of other countries,” Hagan said.
In addition to learning more about world issues and the viewpoints of different countries, the students will also interact with others from around the world.
In the evenings, various social activities are scheduled to encourage students to interact with each other.
For LeighAnn McChesney, a graduate of WVU from Erie, Pa. who went on the trip last year, the social events helped her to create friendships around the world.
“It was a full-rounded experience – educationally, personally and socially,” said McChesney, who was chosen to serve as a council chair at the conference this year. “I made some great contacts and met people that might be the future leaders of their countries. I gained an understanding of world values.”
McChesney has stayed in contact with fellow participants from Turkey, Sweden, the Netherlands and England.
Parkersburg native and sophomore political science major Benjamin Seebaugh will travel outside of the United States for the first time to attend the conference.
“I feel like I will come out of this a little wiser about how the world works. It is really cool to get a take on how other governments are run and a stronger understanding of international relations,” Seebaugh said. “The wisdom and life experience I will get through this will be an asset that is invaluable.”
Seebaugh, who hopes to join the Peace Corps after graduating, has previously attended four model UN conferences.
The students will spend the majority of the seven-day conference in council meetings, but will also have an opportunity to tour the area.
Once the conference is over, the WVU group will spend a day in Amsterdam before heading back to the United States. Last year, the students used the day to take a bike tour around the city.
To get an inside look at the conference and the discussions taking place, follow Seebaugh’s tweets live (Username: BenjaMUN2010) from the conference at http://wvutoday.wvu.edu . His tweets will appear on the right-hand side of the webpage.
For more information on the conference, visit http://www.teimun.org/teimun/about-conference.html .
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