Model UN Youth Conferences Make Good Learning Tools
WHILE many Americans are enjoying Thanksgiving turkeys, Jim Muldoon, who heads up the United Nations Association of the USA's model UN and youth division, will be in the Soviet Union with nine American college students making preparations for an unusual student gathering in January. The occasion is the first international model UN conference ever to be held in Moscow. The idea has been brewing for three years. Some Russian students got an advance preview when they tried their hand at national role playing in the first European model UN in The Hague in July. The Russians did their homework and mastered the substance of their task in depth, according to Mr. Muldoon, but discovered that they didn't have quite the theatrical flair of their American counterparts. They requested more ``training.'' He says that for US students taking part in model UNs the exercise ``is both a process and substance, and Americans have a tendency to emphasize the process because they find it easier ... they tend to be more flamboyant and creative.''
The UNA-USA, a nonprofit citizen group that has supported the UN through educational and research efforts over the last 25 years, also sponsors a seminar for students and faculty who run the 150 model UN conferences held at US high schools and colleges each year.
The UNA organization, now chaired by the State Department's John C. Whitehead, has long conducted dialogues and joint research efforts with its counterparts in the Soviet Union and Japan. Last year bilateral talks were also begun with the People's Republic of China.
With foundation help, the organization, which now has 165 chapters and 22,000 individual members around the US, also sponsors media seminars and tackles in-depth policy research.
In a Sept. 20 article on the United Nations Association of the USA, the president and chairman of the group were incorrectly identified. The president is Edward C. Luck. Chairman John C. Whitehead is former deputy US secretary of state.