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Miami's Model UN embraces new topics, ideas

By Liz Carpenter, The Miami Student

For Miami University students who are bored with talking about what they're having for dinner, how much homework they have or whether they're going out, Model United Nations offers an opportunity to talk about something else.

"This club is unique," said Jackie Jeambey, President of Miami's Model United Nations. "It's especially crafted for people interested in discussing international policy and current events, because that's not something that everyone is interested in."

Model UN holds mock United Nations conferences, where different policies, issues and scenarios are debated and discussed, purposely replicating the issues currently being discussed in the real world.

Model UN meets every Wednesday night at 9 p.m. Once per month, they like to hold simulations, or mock debates, based off a given scenario or issue. For example, they discuss in full detail the events happening with groups such as ISIS, how they should go about dealing with these terroristic threats, and other topics such as what was said at the most recent press conferences.

"Essentially, we're solving real world problems in a fake setting," said Jeambey.

The goal is to remove any bias of your personal background and fully embrace the country and policies they are presenting.

"When the topics you're supposed to be defending are ethically unsettling, it can be difficult to embrace and defend their policy, but it's also kind of fun to play the devil's advocate in these discussions, to be the one to throw a wrench in the mix," Jeambey said.

This idea of removing all bias would be quite difficult for some. But for students who like the idea of playing devil's advocate and taking on a new kind of challenge, it can be quite exhilarating.

The main goal of these mock debates is to make them realistic, but when policy or scenarios become dull, the power to throw a wrench in the mix is all yours.

"You're constantly on your toes, and you never know what's going to be thrown at you or said next," said Maddie Lazarski, the undersecretary for communications and correspondence for the club.

Model UN is open to anyone who has an interest in international affairs. It is for people with a passion for looking deeper into issues that happen around our world.

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"Something I've gained from it is seeing where different people have come from and how that affects who they are and how they see things, and how they see international events," said Lazarski.

Here at Miami, Jeambey said it is easy to get stuck in the "Miami Bubble." The bubble refers to upper-middle-class American students. And yet, people of a variety of backgrounds constantly surround us.

In classrooms, Greek organizations, etc., Model UN is just one example that offers an out from that stereotype. As all clubs do at Miami, Model UN offers all different types of people from different walks of life a chance to share their insight on issues on a larger scale.

Model UN is striving to get a bigger audience, and more funding from the university by going door to door, reaching out to deans of the university, emailing department chairs and spreading awareness of their mission to other organizations.

The club attends conferences to compete and earn awards. Last year, out of nine Miami students to attend a conference at Ohio State University, seven received awards.

These conferences do cost money. And yet, this year alone, when attending a conference in Chicago, Model UN was able to decrease each individual's dues from $150 to $70 because of donations.

The main source of money is from a conference the club holds in the spring for local high school students. It is an opportunity for them to compete on our campus, an excellent way to promote both the club and Miami.

"This year, we were able to get donations from political science, Office of Global Initiatives, College of Arts and Sciences and international studies," said Jeambey.

Much of that awareness is spread through social media, emails and fliers. Self-promotion can be difficult, but so far the club has seen success and is hoping to continue on getting even more financial support.

"I'm such a cheeseball, I'm so in love with this club," said Jeambey. "It's just a lot of fun, you can really make it anything you want it to be."

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