In the future, Christopher Blezek aspires to work in the highly competitive field of international intelligence; that’s his reason for attending this year’s American Model United Nations Conference in Chicago on Nov. 19.
Blezek believes that AMUN, “is as big as it gets before working with a government agency.” He hopes that the experience can ultimately aid him in securing jobs and internships in the future.
Blezek and 19 other students from AU will be taking part in this year’s AMUN conference which is held Nov. 19-23. Eighteen of those students will be traveling to the venue in Chicago. The remaining two students will attend virtually.
AU has continually attended American Model United Nations since the 1970s. AMUN is a replica United Nations Gathering, and this year 90 other schools from around the country and many people from around the world are participating.
Schools are able to represent a country within the UN by means of a lottery, with students taking on the roles of council members and each country’s respective political ideology.
Several meetings within the general assemblies, security councils, economic and social councils, and crisis simulations will be held across the span of four days, with the council members from each country discussing and “solving” world issues.
The general assemblies will discuss topics such as economic and financial sustainability, aviation, and women in development, to name a few. Economic and social council meetings will discuss sustainable development in conflict-affected countries. Delegates in simulations will discuss past UN topics, such as Australia vs. Japan on whaling in Antarctica (2010) and the development of the Gabčíkovo–Nagymaros Dams project (1997).
Unlike the other meetings, Security Councils will have an open agenda – meaning there are a number of unrevealed topics that the council members will have to prepare for.
This year, AU’s MUN club will be representing New Zealand and Belarus.
Assistant Professor in International Relations and National Security, and faculty adviser for AU’s delegation, Dr. Connor J. S. Sutton, initially opted for New Zealand, with the appeal being that it is included in the “historical council.” He later chose to represent Belarus in addition to New Zealand. “We picked Belarus a little later for the diversity of cases – we have a liberal democracy in New Zealand, and an authoritarian democracy in Belarus.”
This will be Sutton’s second year as faculty adviser for the AMUN conference.
To prepare students for Model UN, Sutton assists in council member position papers, resolution writing, simulations, and parliamentary procedures.
Though students thoroughly prepare for the conference, Sutton emphasizes that expertise is not a necessity.
“They don’t have to be experts — just enthusiastic,” he said. “They have to be comfortable with being uncomfortable.”
One AMUN participant, who is preparing for the Belarussian ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization) council member position, is AU freshman Christopher Blezek.
This will be Blezek’s first AMUN experience, and he joined after hearing about the opportunity in AU’s simulations club.
“I’m excited to spread my wings and try my hand at AMUN,” he said. “It will be my first taste of the political realm outside of a classroom. Now I’m actually going to go out, represent these countries, and put my learnings to practice.”
Blezek has prepared for the conference through his research on Belarussian perspective during the class meetings. He also mentioned his strong interest in studying world relations and politics on his own, outside of the classroom.
The ICAO assembly will be resolving the protection against communicable disease for issues of passengers and flight crews.
As a council member for Belarus, Blezek believes that Belarus will use the strategy of siding with its ally nations, Russia and China, to criticize the western nations’ global emissions during the topic of sustainable development. He also believes that Ebola and Covid-19 will be a topic of discussion during the simulation of communicable disease in international travel.
One event within AMUN where no amount of preparation could help delegates, is the Historical Security Council crisis simulation.
The crisis and council meetings take place in a historical year – with 2022’s council meeting having the historical setting of 1993. AU students Charis Day and Morgan Rossman are delegates for New Zealand on the historical council, and they get to enjoy the stressful, complicated, and incredibly tiring simulation meetings throughout the event.
Dr. Sutton described how the historical council briefing operates. “They have no specific agenda. Can you imagine that you are there on Jan. 1, 1993?” he said. “AMUN will give you a briefing of a crisis that takes place in 1993. From there, our students will come up with resolutions during the duration of the conference,” Sutton explained.
Following the meetings throughout the conference, simulations will be updated based on the Historical Security Council’s resolutions – meaning situations can become resolved or have dire consequences.
During the representative dance on Monday, at 11 p.m., an emergency announcement will be made, and a Historical Council crisis simulation meeting will be called. The meeting will take place from 11 p.m. Monday until 4 a.m. Tuesday morning. “It’s really, really cool. They give you coffee and pizza, and say that the fate of the world is in your hands, so you had better stay awake,” explained Dr. Sutton.
Dr. Sutton listed off a multitude of situations the meetings could concern, including Blackhawk Down in Somalia, the Battle of Mogadishu, the fall of the Soviet Union, the Yugoslav Wars, or Tiananmen Square, to name a few.
On Tuesday morning, all councils will have their final sessions, and the Security councils will have their debriefings. In the afternoon, AU students will depart back to Anderson, with critical experience in hand.
Sutton mentioned that the MUN group may attend the Model Arab League conference in Spring of 2023.