Students practice diplomacy, problem solving at 30th annual Dayton Model United Nations Conference

Students from five Ohio colleges put their diplomatic skills to the test Saturday during the 30th annual Dayton Model United Nations Conference held at Sinclair Community College.

Wright State University student Brad Klingbeil was a first-time participant in the DAYMUNC. Klingbeil said he enrolled in WSU’s Model UN course this semester on the recommendation of his girlfriend.

“It sounded interesting, so I thought I’d give it a try, and I really like it so far,” he said Saturday. “I like the conference specifically because the last three weeks have involved a lot of research and writing, and now that we’re here, it all starts to pay off and we can finally put that research to use.”

Model UN is an educational simulation, which allows participants to take on a role as a country’s delegate and attempt to solve real world issues with the policies and perspectives of their assigned nation.

Klingbeil, 24, was representing Saudi Arabia throughout the event and said he’d been researching and learning about the country and its government since January as part of his classwork. As a mechanical engineering major, Klingbeil said there are various benefits of participating in the Model UN.

“The researching aspect is a great skill to have, plus there’s always room for improvement with things like public speaking,” he said. “I think these skills will help with a lot of things later in life, and it’s also just fun.”

DAYMUNC organizers agree the conference can give students the an opportunity to step out of their comfort zone while learning skills that they will use throughout their college careers.

“There’s a lot of networking done here, and not only that, it’s great for learning how to research, and improving writing and communication skills,” said Crystal Burns, DAYMUNC co-secretary. “You have to be able to communicate your policy effectively in a way that others who aren’t as familiar with it will understand.”

Burns said the skills gained during the conference will serve the participants within their post-college professional and personal lives, as well.

“We all need to learn how to collaborate with co-workers, to figure out what business casual looks like, how to submit papers and respond to emails in a polite way,” she said. “It can also build lifelong friendships and connection.”

The conference is an effective practice tool for those students who plan to go on to participate in the Model UN on a national level, Burns added.

“We try to emulate the United Nations, and especially the National Model UN conference in New York,” said Crystal Burns, DAYMUNC co-secretary. “We are structured in a way that helps students who plan to travel to that conference prepare for it.”

Cedarville University student Abigail Rist is in her second year of Model UN and has already participated in the National Model UN Conference.

“There were a lot of things I just sat back and watched in the New York conference, so here, I’ve been able to be more hands-on,” she said.

An international studies major, Rist said she enjoys interacting with fellow delegates and learning foreign policy, though she said there are parts of the experience that can be tough.

“It can get tiring working with people and trying to constantly compromise while always being diplomatic, polite, and very respectful,” she said. “It’s stretching; good, but stretching.”

While the National Model UN Conference is more stringent and competitive, DAYMUNC provides an atmosphere of education more so than one of competition, said co-secretary Christian Cooper.

“We stress that we are a learning conference and that we are not focused on how good you are. We’re focused on improving you and giving you new skills,” Cooper said. “With the experience of our staff, we’re able to help these delegates better prepare for a future conference where you’re more focused on winning.”

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