LOCK HAVEN, Pa. - On April 15-16, Lock Haven University will once again host the Model United Nations. This year’s high school Model UN marks the thirty-seventh year for the annual event. Over the years over 13,100 area high school students have participated in the program hosted by Lock Haven University. It is the largest of the high school outreach programs operated by LHU. Lock Haven University is a member of the Pennsylvania State
System of Higher Education (PASSHE), the largest provider of higher education in
the commonwealth. Its 14 universities offer more than 250 degree and certificate
programs in more than 120 areas of study. Nearly 405,000 system alumni live and
work in Pennsylvania.
The program is a two-day event wherein delegations representing over one hundred member countries of the United Nations draft and debate resolutions on contemporary international issues. Each delegation is composed of three high school students. High schools bring from three to twenty delegations to the Model UN. About three hundred and sixty students representing one hundred and twenty countries are expected to participate this year.
Central Mountain High School, Bucktail High School, Jersey Shore High School, Bellefonte High School, Bald Eagle Area High School, Williamsport Area High School, and the Sugar Valley Rural Charter School are among the regular participants.
“The Model UN has become something of a tradition in this area,” reports Dr. Lawrence T. Farley, professor of political science. “There are students attending this year’s Model UN whose parents participated over two decades ago. And since the high schools keep the same countries from year to year the children may represent the same countries as their parents.”
The LHU Model United Nations program takes no position on what role---if any--the UN should play in the world. It is up to the high school delegates to research international issues, to debate them, and to vote on them in the General Assembly sessions of the Model United Nations.
The Model UN encourages high school students to study history, politics, economics, and geography in the context of real and contemporary world problems,” says Dr. Farley, the former director of the program. “The parliamentary nature of the Model UN helps the student participants to become more comfortable with official gatherings--such as city council and school board meetings. They become more assertive as citizens because of their experience at our Model UN. The student delegates see that orderly and courteous debate is an important learning process and is central to being an effective citizen.”
"Many of the high school participants discover that LHU is a powerhouse in the field of international programs,” notes Dr. Farley. “Dozens have gone on to participate as college students in LHU’s semester abroad programs in Europe, East Asia, Latin America, and Australia.”
The real United Nations is a forum that reflects the merits and defects of the countries that belong to it. As a mirror to the world, the UN is often criticized for problems that are beyond its capacity. While frequently in the headlines the UN is, in fact, a miniature organization with an annual budget less than that of the New York City Police Department.
The Model United Nations program was begun by Dr. Jorge Mottet, a professor in the history department and later a director of international education at LHU. Dr. Farley took over the program when he arrived at LHU in 1979 directed the program for nearly three decades. The program is currently directed by Dr. Andrew Musila, assistant professor of political science.
All of the documents that define the Model UN program are available at the LHU Model United Nations Web Page at: http://www.lhup.edu/lfarley/munhome.htm