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MSU's Model UN Conference Creates Critical Thinking for Area Schools

 For the past 37 years, Missouri State University has hosted the Model United Nations conference. This year, roughly 250 middle and high school students will be in attendance at the Springfield campus. The European economic crisis, global warming and telecommunications are just some of the topics that they’ll debate. KSMU’s Matthew Barnes reports.

Students from Southwest Missouri towns such as Carthage, Lebanon, and Marshfield will represent about 36 countries in this year’s Model UN conference.  Missouri State’s UN Librarian Ann Fuhrman says there’s a reason students in outlying communities drive to Springfield for the conference.

“We have the only United Nations depository in the state of Missouri, which means, that we get official documents for the United Nations for our library. It adds to the breadth and depth of our international collection,” says Fuhrman.

The model UN conference will include simulations of several committees from the general assembly, which gives students a chance to step into the shoes of the world’s diplomats.  Students will attempt to solve problems as mock members of the Security Council, Economic and Social council, and the Sustainable Development Commission. According to Fuhrman, the challenges don’t stop there.

“So students have to learn not only what the current global issues are, but they have to learn about those issues from the view point of the country they are representing. Which means they will have to learn about that country and its geography and its culture and its history and its military,” says Fuhrman.

Ann Fuhrman has been a part of the model UN for almost a decade and says it’s a unique and wonderful experience for young students to try their hand at leadership scenarios. She says the model UN program greatly enhances a student’s education.

“What I’ve know quite frankly, over the past decade, in working with these students. They turn out to be the best and the brightest. They’re the ones who go on to professional school. They go on to law school; they go get masters degrees in global studies. They end up working for think tanks and these are the students that we so want to encourage and support. Because they are literally our future leaders,” says Fuhrman. 

The model UN will be held next Monday and Tuesday in Plaster Student Union. For KSMU News, I’m Matthew Barnes.