Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augustana Students take the role of diplomats at the Model United Nations in Chicago

Feven Zewdu

During the week of Nov. 19 -Nov. 22, Augustana’s Model United Nations (Model UN) took part in a simulation of the meeting of the United Nations in Chicago. This simulation is held by the American Model UN and schools from all over the country participated in it. This year 11 students attended this trip, representing Japan.  

Professor Xiaowen Zhang, head of the political science department, is the faculty advisor for the Model UN at Augustana and helped organize the trip. The trip was open to all students with different disciplines. 

“The activity is open to all students on campus who are interested in being a part of it,” Zhang said. 

Augustana’s Model UN has participated in this event for several years. Junior Matias Bidegaray has been part of this trip for the past two years and has found it to be a good networking opportunity and a way to connect to graduate schools. 

“When I went last year, there were a lot of graduate schools and a lot of graduate recruiters there who you can get information from and who you can learn from,” Bidegaray said.

Students represented Japan as one of the security council member countries this year. Senior Mia Vu has been part of this trip for the past two years. During the event, Vu and her partner will prepare an argument and support their claims as they represent Japan as diplomats. 

“You need to fully understand the content of the country’s objective and their stance on their foreign policy,” Vu said. “Basically, you have to believe that you are representing the country’s best interests and following the laws, and there isn’t really much space for personal biases.” 

In this simulation, Vu and her partner were a part of the international court of Justice and defended their case against other students representing Australia. 

“The delegation of Australia is bringing a case up to the court against us for whaling in the Antarctic,” Vu said. “So, most of my responsibility, and also my partner, is to build up a strong case.” 

As Japan lost the lawsuit, Vu and her partner had to research this case extensively. 

“Japan actually lost the case,” Vu said. “So this year, because we’re representing the defendant, who had already lost, we had to build a very comprehensive case and had to look into every single detail.”

As this is an annual trip organized by the Model UN club at Augustana, it is an opportunity for students to have a broader understanding of the international community.  

“A lot of students may have really good ideas about what should happen, but it’s through this simulation you got to see the reality of how decisions are made at the international level,” Zhang said.


Mia Vu previously worked for the Observer.

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Augustana Students take the role of diplomats at the Model United Nations in Chicago

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