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Model UN Chapter Starts at Dickinson

Zita Petrahai ’18, Managing Editor

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Dickinson has come one step closer to being a globally-oriented campus with the addition of Model United Nations (MUN) to its extracurricular activities. After a long-hiatus, MUN is officially accepting members for conferences and crisis simulations.

According to the United Nations Association of the United States of America, “Model UN is a simulation of the UN General Assembly and other multilateral bodies. Students roleplay the ambassadors debating topics as diverse as maternal health and landmines to promoting literacy.”

While a Dickinson Model UN club was active in 2008, the organization has not hosted a meeting since Apr. 16, 2008, according to the former Dickinson College Model UN website.

The reformed MUN club was initiated by Meaghan Daschund ’18, president, and Daniel Duchaine ’18, vice president of MUN while they were studying abroad in Amman, Jordan in Fall 2016. According to Daschund, the two were inspired by a small in-house conference there, where each student represented a specific country for a drought-related topic.

“I had always been interested in political science and the debate aspects of MUN, and so I really enjoyed the experience in Jordan,” says Duchaine. “I realized that while most colleges have MUN, Dickinson doesn’t and I feel that’s something that Dickinson could use.”

Associate Provost of Academic Affairs, and Advisor to MUN, Shalom Staub, reinstates Duchaine’s statement about the importance of MUN on campus.

“When Meagan Dashcund approached me to serve as the club advisor, I immediately agreed, knowing what an asset this club would be for Dickinson students,” reports Staub. “I was involved in Model UN in high school and recall the exciting learning and friendships created through participation in the regional and national Model UN conferences. My school represented the small West African country Benin and then the Arab gulf sultanate of Oman. There’s no question in my mind that these experiences contributed to a life-long interest in international relations.”

Director of Training, Alyssa Morrissey ’20, hopes she will get a chance to explore international issues while developing her academic skillsets.

“I joined Model UN because I really enjoy learning about today’s issues, while improving my communication and leadership skills,” she says. “MUN is a great opportunity to step outside my comfort zone and learn something new!”

Samuel Weissman ’18 says he is excited to partake in a globally oriented club. 

“It was something that I sort of assumed that Dickinson College had already had… [MUN] condenses many of the things that I find interesting about Dickinson, especially an international focus and engagement with current international issues and the opportunity to be engaged with them, even if it is on a fictional level.”

According to Duchaine, the club will host its first crisis simulation or in-house conference at the end of February. When asked how a crisis simulation differs from an official Model UN conference, Duchaine says:

“In an official Model UN [conference] people will either represent countries or it will be a group of people representing a country and they will do a model UN session on a political event, whereas a simulation can be anything from representing international organizations…[to] representing trade companies. There is a lot more options for stimulations and it is a lot less formal!”

For its first official conference, the club is currently in contact with nearby liberal arts colleges, such as Franklin and Marshall and Gettysburg.

The club does not have an official meeting time yet, but students interested in joining should email [email protected] to sign up for the email list. The club can also be reached on Facebook and Twitter at @dsonmun.

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Model UN Chapter Starts at Dickinson