Students simulate U.N countries at international conference in China

By Elizabeth Ballinger
For 10 days in Xi’an China, Nathan Brown will be a Saudi Arabian. Brown, along with six other students from Aslam Khan’s Model United Nations class, left Saturday, Nov. 22, to represent Saudi Arabia in the role-playing National Model United Nations (NMUN) conference in Xi’an. Students from colleges in the U.S., Europe and Asia will form “countries,” and adopt that nation’s positions. The students will work out solutions with other “countries” to solve economic, social, environmental, and peace-keeping problems. “They have been trained to set aside their personal beliefs, and to vote the way Saudi Arabia would vote,” said Khan. Earlier in the quarter, the students visited the Saudi Arabian Embassy and spoke with the advisor to the ambassador, asking him questions about the nation’s policies and values. Students are assigned their country out of several submitted choices. In a previous NMUN conference, a Palestinian student worked in the group assigned to represent Israel. This time, one of the greatest differences, Khan said, between the student’s belief systems and the country they represent, will be the treatment of women. “Women in Saudi Arabia still can’t drive or occupy certain professions,” he said. “These students must get in the mindset of that culture.” The NMUN is a program of the National Collegiate Conference association, a non-profit corporation that began in 1968. The Model U.N. simulates the organization, functions, and purposes of the United Nations to teach students about global issues. The opening ceremony will be held in the country’s U.N. headquarters. Each student country will be divided into four committees, and Khan’s group will form three. Tim Zielke, and Maeson Husky will serve on the Economic and Social Development Council. They will work on issues like food security, spread of new technology, and raising the standards of living. “Saudi Arabia’s positions on economic development aren’t different than any other developing country,” said Husky. Nathan Brown and Alina Ross will form the General Assembly role. They will work with the model