National Model UN conference ‘an amazing opportunity’ for Brock students


Fifteen members of Brock's National Model United Nations group made the recent trip to New York for a conference involving students from around the world.

His goal is to work in international relations, and if Alex Hobbs is successful, he’ll look back at the National Model United Nations conference as a turning point in his career.

The second-year Brock Political Science student met international diplomats, including Samantha Power, the United States’ ambassador to the UN, while debating and discussing policy and global issues with thousands of like-minded students from across the globe.

“After going through everything, it’s exhausting,” Hobbs said. “At the end of the day, it’s so very worth it.”

Hobbs, 19, is president of Brock’s National Model United Nations, which includes 17 students from different Faculties. The group met each week to learn about policies respective to each UN country that would be at the national conference. They also refined skills such as speaking, negotiation and writing a working paper.

“There’s a difference between doing it in a closed environment (at Brock) and doing it in front of an audience of 1,000 people,” Hobbs said. “It’s a big difference and a steep learning curve.”

Fifteen members of the Brock group (two were sick) made the recent trip to New York, where they were split into UN sub-committees. Hobbs was in Security Council and spent much of his time debating issues in Syria. More than 5,000 students from close to 400 universities around the world attended the conference. Many of them were also working in government. One student, Hobbs said, already had three degrees and was studying pre-med while also working for his government’s department of defence.

“It’s really an amazing opportunity to be able to get the opportunity to debate with them, negotiate with them and connect with them,” Hobbs said. “(They are) people who know what the political environment really is, how they want to move forward, and know about all these different things and being successful already. It was a huge experience.”

The conference, while “stressful at times,” also gave students a chance to network.

“There is nothing else like it,” Hobbs said. “There’s nothing else that I know of where you will be able to meet and discuss and learn from people who are as important as these people are,” Hobbs said, noting Elliott Harris, director, United Nations Environment Programme, and Leanne Smith, deputy chief, Peacekeeping Best Practices Section, as two examples. “It’s people like that, so this experience as a whole – not just learning policy or how to negotiate – it’s a lot of meeting people.”

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