Inspired by VIU’s Model United Nations (MUN) club, students will soon have the opportunity to earn academic credit from a new MUN course.

The VIU MUN delegation at the 2016 UBC MUN conference in January. Photo by Sarah Abdulkafi

Dedicated to training students to participate in conferences, as well as develop attributes such as public speaking and diplomacy, MUN encourages students to engage with topics of global politics and develop skills for further studies or professional work.

The new three-credit course will begin in September, as the MUN executive team has been working with Political Studies professor Mark Williams over the past several months to develop the content. “My motivation for developing a MUN course came from the positive feedback that I was hearing from VIU students about the  MUN,” Williams said. “The club was growing rapidly and the students had so much passion for participating in these simulations. Students were putting in a lot of working hours to prepare for the summits, entirely on their own time, and I thought they should have the opportunity to get course credit at least once during their program of study.”

Since members of the VIU MUN club come from any field of study—currently there are students from Political Studies, Global Studies, History, Computer Science, Biology, and Economics to name a few—the MUN course will be offered to all students who have at least second-year standing.

“We wanted to make sure anyone on campus could take this course, as it would be fantastic training for Model UN conferences,” said VIU MUN Acting President Shantel Beute. Students are not required to be part of the club if they enroll in the course, but it would be beneficial in order to attend conferences with the VIU delegation, Beute said.

The VIU MUN club started off with a bang this semester by attending the UBC MUN conference at the Hyatt Regency in Vancouver from January 8–10 with its largest delegation yet. “The big difference in this trip to UBC was not only the size of our delegation, but the fantastic diplomacy and skilled debate shown by VIU’s delegates,” said Beute.

Beute stated that she is seeing progress in the club as members grow their confidence in participating in debates and discussion. “We now have many veteran members which we can confidently pass the torch to when the current senior students graduate,” she said.

The delegation plans to attend both the UBC and UVic conferences again next year, but would also like to look into the potential for an international conference or the possibility to host another Model UN Conference for high school students as we did in 2011 and 2006, Beute explained.

Until then, the club is always open to new members. “We are always looking for eager students to take on an executive position, as it is important to foster leadership in the students of our club,” said Beute.

Meetings currently take place Tuesdays at 2:30 p.m. in bldg. 356, rm. 336. Email for more information.

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