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February 19, 2004


Model UN part of break
Debating the big issues

By Kristine Hamlyn
On Feb. 23-24 more than 250 high school students will come together at Memorial’s St. John’s campus to debate world issues as part of the Model United Nations. Coming from schools in St. John’s and surrounding area, participating grade 10-12 students will assume the role of delegates representing various countries, and work as teams to effectively communicate their respective positions and views.

“The Model UN is as close to an actual UN simulation as we can get,” explained Lesley Herridge, Model UN secretary-general and fourth-year student at Memorial. Ms. Herridge, along with second-year students Matthew Gollop, president of the Model UN Society and Katie Norman, under secretary-general, form the Secretariat.

The six topics to be debated at this year’s Model UN are, as in past years, issues of great interest and concern in the present day. Ambassadors from each country will discuss UN reform, drug trafficking and drug trade, infectious diseases and outbreaks, debt for nature swaps, conventional weapons, and take part in a session of the International Court of Justice debating over a border dispute.

“Students are to take the resolutions written by the Secretariat and do research to find out what is currently happening in the world,” said Ms. Herridge. “Over the course of the two-day event, delegates will then be given the opportunity to speak on behalf of their country in both the General Assembly, to be held in SN2109 as well as in smaller classroom settings. At the final General Assembly, changes, amendments and even the creation of new resolutions will be reviewed one final time and put to a pass or fail vote.”

The conclusion of the conference will bring the presentation of the Dr. Gunthur Hartman Award to be given to the best delegation at the final plenary General Assembly. It is based on the students’ public speaking skills, knowledge of their country in relation to the resolutions being discussed and ability to work as a team. The award is in memory of Dr. Hartman who passed away in 2000. Dr. Hartman started the Model UN at Memorial 13 years ago.

“I encourage students to get involved with this,” said Ms. Herridge. “It is truly beneficial to all involved. You learn research, writing and speaking skills in addition to learning about the United Nations and how it functions.”

Ms. Herridge is a member of Memorial’s United Nations Society. Formed by Memorial students, its purpose is to bring awareness to the university and community about the UN and how it operates. In addition to the Model UN, the UN Society also participates in many other events including celebrating United Nations Day and educating elementary school children about the UN through the What Kind of World Program. The UN Society always welcomes new members. Those interested in learning more can visit their Web site at


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Next issue: March 4, 2004

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