Late last month, students in Elizabethtown College’s Model United Nations course attended the National Model United Nations conference in New York City to participate in simulated UN committees. From March 22 to March 26, the 14 students in the class, taught by Dr. Oya Dursun-Ozkanca, associate professor of political science, represented different delegates of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Sophomore Garrett Clark served as Head Delegate.
In class, the students spent time researching the history of Bosnia and Herzegovina and its stance as a member of the United Nations so that they could be well-informed participants at the conference.
Dursun-Ozkanca, a native of Turkey, was elected for her class to represent the country because of her background in studying the politics of the Balkans. A previously harmonious area, it has recently been engaged in religious violence and economic strife. With an unemployment rate of 44 percent and a civil war in its recent history, Bosnia and Herzegovina proved an interesting country to represent.
“[It is a] great educational experience to represent underdeveloped, small countries,” Dursun-Ozkanca said.
She was especially excited that her students were able to do such a fine job working with as many as 2,500 other student delegates, developing their abilities to mediate and resolve conflict and public speaking.
The closing ceremony was held in the General Assembly Hall of the United Nations. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon gave the keynote speech, advocating the educational significance of participating in a mock UN conference. Dursun-Ozkanca agreed, emphasizing that the teaching of diplomacy is “so valuable.”
When made a permanent course, Model United Nations will be offered every other spring semester.