TNE Editor

Model UN teaches students global issues skills

Published 11/6/18

Bradley Dame

TNE Writer

The Model United Nations is a class where students run simulations of the actual UN general assembly and Security Council.  Every year they choose a country to represent and spend each meeting discussing global issues and preparing for Model UN conferences and competitions.  Students learn diplomacy, public speaking, how to write resolutions and information about the countries they represent.

“Model UN teaches you about global issues,” said Paul Thompson, Broken Arrow senior. “It develops your writing and speaking skills in a way that’s applicable to many fields beyond just political.”

Thompson has been in model UN for several years now. He enjoys going to meetings and conferences, especially the Midwest conference in St. Louis the class attends every year.

“Going on trips with the team and getting to know them as people is fun,” said Thompson.  “That happens when you’re all at a conference together for four days.”

The Midwest Model UN is the largest conference the class goes to. Roughly 4,000 students from 30 different colleges attend.  This year, NSU Model UN is representing India.

Model UN keeps as up to date as possible in regards to current events. Anything that happens in the real world, such as a terrorist attack or major policy decision affects the Model UN simulation. This means research is done by the students, and they must familiarize themselves with their country thoroughly and completely.

“I represent the Security Council, and there’s a lot that goes into it,” said Gabrielle Budder, Model UN head delegate.  “You have to know your country’s stance on humanitarian rights, gender equality, everything. And because we’re so current, you have to understand crisis management, diplomacy, tact and of course cultural understanding.”

Budder joined Model UN in the spring of 2018. She is an English major and media studies minor, and she wants to bring her field of study into the class and further develop the role of journalists and other writing bodies into Model UN. Students across all majors are encouraged to join Model UN, as the skills students learn can be applicable in several different lines of work.

“It’s not just learning about politics and the UN,” said Budder. “We have to dress in business attire and learn proper conduct and speaking. We have to be able to form diplomatic solutions that allow for different ideologies and we’re networking with the people we meet. You’ll run into the same people at the conferences going into the same fields, so it’s good to establish relationships with them now.”

Model UN is a cross between a club and a class.  They have a HawkLife page and get funding from the Northeastern Student Government Association for the conference trips, and it is also worth one credit hour towards a student’s degree audit. The class is taught by Dr. Cheryl Van Den Handel, political science professor.

“We are members of the UN Association of Eastern Oklahoma, which is under the UN Foundation, an umbrella group for those passionate for multicultural diplomacy and improving the human condition,” said Dr. Van Den Handel. “We advocate for sustainable development, peaceful resolution, equality and equity. It’s about working towards a better and kinder world.”

Model UN is open for enrollment every semester. For more information, visit their HawkLife page at

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