The docket was full for the DAYMUNC (Dayton Model United Nations Conference) the first weekend in February. On Feb. 1 and Feb. 2, building 12 of Sinclair was home to a Model UN conference. Sinclair is in fact the only community college in the nation to hold such an event.
While snow and frigid temperatures closed campus Friday Feb. 1, DAYMUNC held their opening ceremony only an hour later than expected and the rest of the conference continued as planned.
This year’s conference marks the 26th anniversary of DAYMUNC, which was first established in the 1990s. The conference was founded by Thom Martin, who ran the conference for 20 years before his retirement. Martin was a professor of history who had taken model UN himself, and as he found it beneficial, wanted to establish a conference at Sinclair.
The conference is now run by co-directors Kathy and Jenny Sooy, who have been running the logistics of the conference for the past six years.
“When we first were hired he [Martin] enlisted our support to advice and to grade the papers, in terms of the papers you needed to have someone objective to be able to do that, and we took over the logistical role with other colleges, but then took the whole organizations…” Said Jenny Sooy, talking about herself and her sister Kathy.
The committees in the model UN are student-run. Students choose the staff for each committee and topics to work on over two days. However, faculty advisors and co-directors Sooy are there to run the logistics and help students throughout the conference.
The conference is a big responsibility for the students, as most of them are enrolled in masters or graduate level programs. Finding a balance between their course loads, work, family life and the conference can be a challenge, according to co-directors Sooy.
“The best thing, and the purpose, is to really help students who attended the conference to broaden their knowledge of international affairs and specific issues that are concerning the international community,” said Jenny Sooy.
“…and to be able to then research those issues to be able to come up with solutions to those problems, thoughtfully, critically, to be able then they can write and research a paper on a topic and represent a country [in the model UN] and they learn different perspectives,” Sooy continued.
The students at these conferences have to learn to accurately advocate for the country they are representing. According to co-directors Sooy, the hard part is to not only do this but stay in the role and never interject their own opinions.
Student delegates have to continually represent the viewpoint of the country they are representing with words and actions that are accurate to how that country would behave in that particular situation.
The conference teaches students a variety of talents, such as critical thinking, research skills, writing, knowledge of the international community, communication skills, geography and public speaking, among others.
The model UN also teaches students how to negotiate, how to be diplomats and appreciate the role of the united nations.
This year there were students from five area schools who attended the conference. Past years have had up to 6-10 schools. This diversity in students helps the model UN, by helping students learn to work with others.
Along with growing the conference to more students and schools in the future, co-directors Sooy hope to have a greater representation of disciplines at future DAYMUNC events. As the conference can be a beneficial learning experience to more than just the international relations students, according to the co-directors.
The co-directors also stated that the conference helps to build confidence and networking skills among the students. As well as helping them build relationships, and come together with all kinds of different people.
“[it helps you realize] wait a minute, where ever you go people are just like you, they’re gonna have to learn too, and there is no reason to feel intimidated,” said co-director Jenny Sooy.