Kettering Model United Nations Club competes at Harvard
Seven Kettering University students participated in the Harvard National Model United Nations (HNMUN) competition Feb. 16-19 in Boston, Mass.
The Kettering group – Nurudeen Huthman, Ana Toumboulian, Kemoy Smith, Jason Gui, Chris Gauthier, Timothy Hartman and Amy Allison along with faculty adviser Dr. Michael Callahan, Professor of History and the current Frances Wilson Thompson Professor of Leadership Studies at Kettering – represented the Kingdom of Cambodia, immersing themselves in the culture, politics, religion, history and foreign relations of Cambodia in preparation for the event.
“Meeting hundreds of kids from all over the world was amazing, I’m 100 percent sure I was surrounded by future politicians, Presidents and Prime Ministers and that in itself is incredible,” said Allison, the incoming president of Kettering’s Model U.N. Club and a freshman Mechanical Engineering major from Ortonville, Mich. “The committee meetings were very educational as I was able to see everyone and their corresponding country in action. The nightly social events were always an absolute blast. But most importantly, being with a great team and a wonderful advisor enhanced the trip substantially.”
A unique part of the trip was the fact that the Kettering delegation consisted of students with engineering educational backgrounds while many of the other students studied things like political science, international business or other fields more directly related to the Model U.N. experience.
“Engineering students were definitely the minority population at this conference,” said Huthman, the current club president and a senior electrical engineering major from Lagos, Nigeria. “However, because of the analytical mind of an engineer we were able to break down the various aspects of the problem and develop solutions that not only solved the problem, but were agreeable to most caucuses in the committees.”
“To troubleshoot through problems that are as sticky as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, thinking analytically, like we’ve been trained to do as engineers, is the best way to go about it,” Allison said. “We didn’t come from Liberal Arts schools like the majority of the kids in attendance at HNMUN, but as engineers we brought a new perspective to the table and that was an accessory that only an engineer could provide.”
The students worked with more than 3,000 other students from 40 different countries at the competition, which required the use of skills such as debating, diplomacy, working within a committee, networking and problem-solving. Hartman and Gauthier were a part of a committee that discussed the Revision of the Geneva Conventions in the Role of War. Gui and Allison were a part of a committee that discussed the roles of Hezbollah and Hamas within the Israeli and Palestinian conflict as well as possible solutions. Smith and Huthman served as delegates in the Historical General Assembly, discussing the 1956 Hungarian Revolution and whether or not the U.N. should take action. Toumboulian worked in the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific committee.
“The opportunity to meet and deliberate with like minded students from different parts of the world was a big highlight for me,” Huthman said. “I like to say that because of my participation at the Model UN conference in Boston I have made a lot of international friends and can travel to numerous cities around the world with the comfort that I will have a bed to crash on or at least a couch for free!”
Huthman started Kettering’s Model U.N. Club in 2010 after he attended the Harvard conference with other Kettering students. He enjoyed the experience so much that he decided that Kettering needed its own club, so he helped start one.
“I proceeded, with the help of numerous parties, to start the KSG sponsored model United Nations Club on campus,” Huthman said. “I would not call it my brainchild but it is certainly one of the clubs I am most passionate about on campus due to my interest in solving world problems and understanding how one can use the current diplomatic system to be successful at implementing sustainable global solutions to problems facing the people of the world.”
Allison notes that the club and the Harvard competition are both great preparation for students.
“I think the world is extremely globalized,” she said. “I know that if I want to be successful in any career that I need to think globally, network globally and experience the world. This MUN conference gave me the perfect opportunity to do all of this.”
The event wasn’t just rewarding from the perspective of students, either.
“I think attending the Harvard National Model United Nations conference in Boston was one of the best experiences I have had as a professor at Kettering,” Callahan said. “It was an excellent opportunity for our students to collaborate with other future leaders in developing innovative solutions to complex global problems. It was also a unique chance for them to forge friendships with students from more than 40 different nations and network with peers attending some of the best universities in the world. HNMUN is the largest, oldest, and most prestigious conference of its kind. It was vital that Kettering students were there to demonstrate how important it is to have individuals with a strong knowledge of science, technology, engineering, and math like themselves engaged in the debates if we ever hope to resolve the wide range of societal and developmental challenges we face as an international community. I was proud of our delegation. They did something good for themselves, Kettering University, and the future of the larger world.”
Students interested in international relations, world cultures, global networking or solving problems are welcome to attend the club’s weekly meetings, which are on Mondays starting on April 2. For information, e-mail Amy Allison at email@example.com.
Contact: Patrick Hayes