For the first time, Hollins University and Roanoke College students joined together to attend the annual American Model United Nations (AMUN) Conference, held November 22-25 in Chicago.
Eight students from Hollins and six from Roanoke made the trip, representing Tunisia and Gabon, respectively. The two delegations worked together on the Economic and Social Council and the Economic Commission for Africa.
Hollins Professor of Political Science Ed Lynch fostered the collaboration. He is filling in as the Roanoke College Model UN Club’s academic advisor. Roanoke Professor of Public Affairs Joshua Rubongoya, the club’s regular advisor, is on sabbatical leave.
“Hollins students have attended AMUN in Chicago since 2003 and it made sense for me to accompany Roanoke College students to this conference as well,” Lynch explained. “Moreover, AMUN is the best-planned and best-organized academic conference I have ever attended.”
Students from Roanoke College have been attending a similar conference in New York each spring.
AMUN includes over 70 colleges and universities from around the United States, with more than 1,000 students attending. During the conference, students act as country representatives and debate resolutions over issues ranging from human trafficking to arms control. The “diplomats” meet in formal sessions and informal caucuses; intense negotiations take place over the wording of resolutions.
The conference also includes a graduate school fair, internship opportunities, and chances to see Chicago’s many attractions. The timing, just before Thanksgiving, means most of the representatives miss little or no class time.
“The students from both Hollins and Roanoke welcomed the opportunity for hands-on learning and to practice public speaking, effective writing, one-on-one negotiation, and parliamentary procedure,” Lynch said. “I think having both delegations there prompted some competition, bringing out the best in both groups.”