Students take on Ambassador roles in simulation of the United Nations

Politics and International Relations (IR) students put themselves in the shoes of Ambassadors and delegates of chosen countries in a simulation of the United Nations. The students spent the day debating in order to solve global issues in an event organised by a committee of students, recruited by second year International Relations student, Adele Benson.

In this first ever event organised by the committee with the help of Melita Lazell who runs the Academic Enrichment Programme for Politics and IR, the students or ‘delegates’ were given a fictional scenario:

In the last week Ethiopia has started to persecute individuals of Somali heritage, accusing them of terrorists sympathies and following fears of the ‘greater Somalia’. The Somalia government is not willing to intervene, however there are anti-government protests at this decision. There has been a major rise in terrorist activity in Somalia since the democratic elections last year (the first in 30 years).

Consequently, the United Nations is proposing a move to deliver aid (via a UN peacekeeping force) and potential military intervention.

The idea of the simulation is to challenge the delegates in applying what they have learnt from their degree, and what they can derive from state behaviour in similar situations. The 18 participants of the simulation demonstrated that they were politically engaged and were able to negotiate eloquently.

The delegates decided to send in UN observers to assess the situation. Following significant and heated debates as well as a simulation of the African Union, it was decided and agreed that the states must retain their sovereignty, and to allow Ethiopia to conduct the activities it wishes within its borders.

The next Model United Nations will be taking place in late October or early November next year.

Adele said: “I am immensely pleased that the simulation will be taken forward, in order for others to gain from the experience. I am also very happy with how accommodating the lecturers and department were and how supportive and enthusiastic the staff were. I would encourage anyone with an idea to take it forward!”

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