Edina Model United Nations delves into international relations

Emma Bailey, page editor

Here at Edina High School, Model United Nations, or MUN, is much more than just a club where students explore their interest in international relations. Not only is Model UN a great outlet for working on public speaking, collaboration skills, and political awareness, it is also packed with the opportunity for many lasting memories and friendships.

Model UN consists of four groups: advisors, captains, leadership, and delegates. Advisors, Betsy Nimmo and Nickie McKeever, seek out conferences, work with other MUN advisors, and essentially “coach” the team. Captains act as, in the words of McKeever, “the right and left hands” of the organization, running practices and communicating first hand with delegates. During conferences, the recitals of Model UN, delegates are assigned a country and a common issue that they must collaboratively create a written resolution for.

The EMUNC Leadership Team works especially hard to create and set up Edina’s own Model UN conference, the only student-run conference in the state. Nimmo, McKeever, and the EMUNC team coordinate and plan all year in order to ensure that EMUNC remains a professional and educational conference each year. 

MUN Captain Khalid Ishani has been involved in the organization for three years now. “It’s naturally progressed to the point where I now find Model UN as an integral part of my life,” Ishani said. His favorite MUN memory is of a scavenger hunt in Boston last year, in which delegates had to perform random tasks like taking a selfie with an elevator full of strangers.

McKeever, who coaches Model UN, emphasizes both the benefits of the conferences and the importance of having “MUN fun.” “Model UN can be your number one priority and it can be everything that you focus on, but it can also be something that you are interested in . . . but it’s not necessarily going to take over your life,” McKeever said.

While Model UN is a proactive way to spend your time, it can definitely be frustrating. “Before you go to the first conference you don’t have any idea what you’re doing,” a veteran MUN member who would like to remain anonymous told Zephyrus. McKeever in response brought up an analogy involving sports teams: When viewers watch a broadcasted sport, they are able to immerse themselves in the nature of the sport. However, Model UN is not largely broadcasted, so new delegates must learn by experience in order to develop and augment their skills. Additionally, the same student expressed that it’s unfortunate to walk out of a conference knowing that your hard work and collaboration had no real effect on the issue at hand. McKeever stressed that Model UN focuses on skill building, ensuring that students to finish out the year in a much more intellectual and informed manner, and then allowing them to be guided by that knowledge.

Even if international relations isn’t your forte, it’s still worth giving Model UN a look. “We’re a lot more focused on skill building. Even if you aren’t interested in international relations, you can still benefit a lot from Model UN,” Ishani said.