ECMUN 2012 boasted 230 high school students and 25 advisors, which is nearly twice the size of the previous largest conference on campus, according to Welling Hall, politics professor and ECMUN faculty supervisor.
“I think the main reason for such a significant increase is our growing reputation from year to year,” says Ivan Babic, a junior from Bosnia, who served as ECMUN secretary-general. “I personally believe that Model United Nation conferences are life-changing experiences, especially here at Earlham where you can meet people from more than 70 countries around the world.
“Another important aspect that sets the ECMUN experience apart from others is the fact that our conference is almost 100 percent run by Earlham students.”
Babic says that nearly 30 highly motivated members of ECMUN Club organized and ran the conference including serving as committee chairs. This year, members of Hall’s “International Relations” course assisted the club.
Junior Ivan Babic, secretary-general of Earlham’s Model U.N. addresses the crowd at the event’s welcoming session.
“As testament to our success, our participants, some of whom have come every year since 1995, could not tell that this year’s conference was nearly twice as big as any we have run before,” Hall says. “We have the most internationally diverse staff in the region; we are an interactive hands-on conference. Also, we focus on the substance of the issues as bearing on the lives of real people rather than as an extension of a debating club to score debating points.”
High school participants register and learn of their countries and issues beforehand. The students research their designated country before arriving at the academic simulation where they take on roles as UN diplomats. Using parliamentary procedure, students consult, negotiate and debate with others to develop solutions and resolutions to real-world problems.
Mary Grabianowski, Zionsville High School teacher and Model UN sponsor, has brought a group to ECMUN every year since at least 1999.
“We compete in several MUNs and Earlham’s is the one the students most look forward to,” Grabianowski says. “It is organized and well-run.”
Grabianowski says her high school students love the opening ceremony and the give-and-take with the Earlham students. Earlham international students help to make the experience seem more real to her students.
“They are learning first-hand from citizens of other countries what is going on in that country,” she says.