By Greg Fleischut
For the first time in school history, East Los Angeles College introduces a Model United Nations team to its list of campus clubs. The team meets Tuesdays at 12:30 pm in room F7-111 and is lead by Dr. Kenneth Chaiprasert, a professor of political science. The club plans to compete at the inaugural SageMUN Model United Nations conference at Pomona College in February.
The SageMUN conference will bring together groups of students from across Southern California to debate current global issues. Debate topics will include “International Terrorism” where students will debate the best course of action in stopping the illegal weapons trade. Through debate the Model UN conference will seek to revise and update real-life laws and international agreements.
Students are tasked with playing the roles of different world governments and asked to make political decisions based on their stances. Student delegates at the conference in February will “take the mantle of one of the fifteen states currently occupying [the United Nations’] body and create a proposal for its future that could usher in a new era of global peacekeeping,” says the SageMUN website.
Student delegates will also act as members of the International Court of Justice, a division of the United Nations that tries cases between countries. Serbian-Croatian Genocide will be the cases tried by the Model UN court. Decisions made by the International Court of the UN are important because their decisions shape the way in which international law is carried out and interpreted.
The Model UN Club provides a podium for politically minded students to carry out ideas that may shape international relations to come. In preparation for the SageMUN conference, ELAC’s Model UN club “..will take part in various community service events,” says Dr. Chaiprasert, as well as “provide a platform for students to research, present, and debate global political issues.” In class debate topics may range from heavy global crises to lighthearted topics such as, “what to serve at the next community bake sale.”
The UN club provides students with an opportunity to learn about current global affairs and the opportunity to simulate the role of world leaders. As well as looking “great on a resume,” says Dr. Kenneth.
This year’s Model UN at ELAC is making history as the school’s first club of it’s kind, participating at Pomona’s first SageMUN Model UN Conference. As the club meeting lets out, Dr. Chapraisert. excitedly yells, “We’re making history, people!”.