By Tate Luckey —
The U of L chapter of the United National Association travels regionally to participate in model sessions, often bringing home lots of award hardware. The club is sponsored by political science professor Tricia Gray.
The chapter, both U of L’s and Louisville Metro’s, works together toward the common goals of inspiring, motivating and sharing the mission of the United Nations. This is done through in-person events, ranging from Model UN conferences to speakers for UN Days and leadership training for students.
The chapter president is sophomore political science major Alex Reynolds. He said the U of L chapter is more student-advocacy focused. “Our club for right now seems more Model UN [based], but we’re going to start transitioning to more advocacy stuff, and even a model EU. It’s kind of in limbo right now.”
The Louisville Metro Chapter is primarily more service, education and leadership-focused. An event Gray described included the U of L chapter partnering with UNA Women to plan for International Women’s Day and Women’s Her-story Month in March.
The main draw for most students is playing the role of certain countries and advocating for those issues. The group recently returned from the 42nd International Consortium of International Studies hosted at the University of Indianapolis, where they represented Vietnam, Tunisia, India and France. Louisville placed first and also won plenty of awards. Tristan Black won Best Delegate (Council 3), Luke Threlfall won Second Best Delegate and Best Diplomat (Council 2), Will VanHandorf won Best Diplomat (Council 3) and Luka Johnson won Best in Character (Council 1.)
“The Model United Nations conferences are fantastic! I have so many anecdotes, like the woman who came rushing over to me afterward to say that we HAVE to do the national level!” Gray said, stressing it as a bonding experience that gives students a taste of real diplomacy and the difficulty achieving it.
You’d be hard-pressed to find any student in the club who doesn’t have a broad interest in foreign policy; of the six students on the officer board, five are political science majors and all plan on entering the legislative world. “I think you can just be creative with it. There’s an endless amount of issues you can find and try and solve and take different perspectives on. It’s not one narrow area, you can go from local to international; I think that’s kinda what drew me to get involved in the UN,” Reynolds said.
Fun fact: two students from U of L’s first and second Model UN teams are both now working in the U.S. Foreign Service.
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