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Gannon University Hosts 69th Annual Model United Nations Conference

Published: 11/06/2021

Students attending the 69th Annual Model UN at Gannon University. Photo courtesy of Dr. Anjali Sahay.

Students attending the 69th Annual Model UN at Gannon University. Photo courtesy of Dr. Anjali Sahay.

Gannon University hosts its 69th Annual Gannon Model United Nations Conference on Nov. 5 to 6 in the Waldron Campus Center’s Yehl Ballroom.

This year's conference includes topics such as the impact of ocean acidification, protecting the rights of Syrian refugees, promoting the development of infrastructure in Africa, proper use of force in domestic policing, the AIDS epidemic in 1987, and the colonization of the Iroquois Confederacy after the American Revolution.

The opening session was held at 7 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 5. Dylanna Grasinger, director of the International Institute of Erie, delivered the keynote address. Lori Lindley, Ph.D., dean of the College of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences, also addressed students.

Additionally, representatives from the Gannon University Model U.N. attended a flag-raising at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, Nov. 4 at the Erie Mayor’s Press Conference.

Events are free and open to the public. Learn more at https://www.gannon.edu/academic-offerings/humanities-education-and-social-sciences/undergraduate/political-science/model-un/

About the Gannon University Model U.N.

The Gannon University Model U.N. is the longest-running organization of its type in the country and the second-oldest Model U.N. in the world. Each year, the conference brings hundreds of high school students from schools in Pennsylvania, Ohio and New York to participate in simulations of United Nations committees to deliberate on challenges faced by the international community. The event is moderated by Gannon University faculty, staff and students as an opportunity to learn about diverse cultures and political systems across the globe.

As part of the conference, about 240 high school students assigned to represent different countries will engage in committees that address important topics.

Gannon students and staff have been preparing for this conference since spring and are excited to facilitate dialogue and discussion on topics including ocean acidification, protecting the rights of Syrian refugees, and promoting the development of African infrastructure. Additionally, the U.N. Security Council simulation will address current issues of interested to global security including domestic policing practices and the use of lethal force against civilians worldwide.

In addition to these committees, there will be a historical simulation of the 1987 Security Council that will cover topics including the AIDS epidemic of that period. Joint Crisis Committees with an alternative historical timeline will have students representing key players in the colonialization of the Iroquois Confederacy before the American Revolution. One committee will consist of delegates to the Iroquois Confederacy while the other will consist of delegates representing the American colonial powers.

New to this year’s Gannon Model U.N. Conference is the Press Corps delegation. As part of this students are assigned a major media outlet and must perform the role of journalist while adhering to the style and political leaning of that outlet. Members of the Press Corps will prepare press releases and use social media to report on events in the various committees.  

Each year the Gannon Secretariat distinguishes high school students for outstanding participation in the conference. Awards are based on delegates’ knowledge of and insight into world issues during committee meetings and show of diplomatic skills in debating issues. Best Delegate and Best School awards will be handed out at the closing ceremonies on Saturday, Nov. 6. Awards will also be given for the top three position papers submitted prior to the conference.

This year’s secretary general of the Gannon Model U.N. is James A. Neumann. Neumann is a senior double majoring in public service and global affairs and public relations and a member of the Honors Program. Timothy Caswell, Ph.D., associate professor of psychology at Gannon, will direct the planning and implementation of the conference. Alex Holbrook, Ph.D., assistant professor of history, will advise the club.

Gannon’s Model UN Club and conference is supported and advised by Anjali Sahay, Ph.D., associate professor in the political science program. Students in Sahay’s United Nations practicum class will also participate in the running of the conference.