Shepherd’s model UN team competes in Philadelphia

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Dr. Aart Holtslag, the adviser of Shepherd University's Model United Nations Team, is also a professor of political science.

(THE PICKET)—Shepherd University’s Model United Nations team competed last weekend at a conference hosted by the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.

Model United Nations is an extracurricular activity where students adopt the persona of a specific country and diplomatically debate several topics from the positions and perspectives of that country, generally over the course of several days.

Shepherd students competed with students from schools around the nation, including top names such as New York University, the University of California at Berkeley, and every Ivy League school except for Dartmouth.

“Shepherd’s Model United Nations team, in only its second competition, held its own and was involved in negotiations and coalitions with students from the top schools in the country. Many of the students received compliments for their outstanding work and their contributions to resolutions and friendly relations among nations,” said Dr. Aart Holtslag, the team’s adviser.

“Overall I think the conference went well, I think all the students got into some kind of coalition or negotiation agreement,” said Nathan Emery, a 20-year-old senior majoring in political science, referring to the diplomatic process in which students work together to create and amend resolutions to be voted on by the committee as a whole.

Quinn Kashay, a 20-year-old senior majoring in political science, experienced the diplomatic process in an intrigue-filled way.

Kashay said he was surprised by how “cutthroat” the conference was, and described a time when he and his partner, representing Thailand, argued that a provision be added to a resolution considering any drone strike within the borders of a sovereign nation be dealt with as an act of war. The delegate representing Germany added the provision to their resolution, assuring Kashay that his contribution was in it. As it went, the German delegation had a change of heart right before voting time, and took his contribution out. The time to vote on the resolution was imminent, and Germany still expected his vote. Kashay got the last laugh, however.

“We kind of got back at [the German delegation] because it came down to one vote as to whether or not the resolution would pass… we voted against it,” he said.

Dr. Holtslag said he is proud of the way the team competed this past weekend.

“This a very talented group of students and the Shepherd community should be very proud to have such dedicated members among them,” he said.