With cadets from 11 different countries and 25 different states, Missouri Military Academy is already a global environment. Now, thanks to a cadet-led initiative, cadets can more formally share their backgrounds, expand their knowledge of international issues and develop negotiation skills through participation in Model United Nations (Model UN) – an international club that helps students learn more about how the United Nations (UN) operates.
Since September 2020, MMA cadets have had the opportunity to participate in the MMA chapter of Model UN, founded by senior Bruno Kuzwayezu from Kigali, Rwanda.
According to Kuzwayezu, he was inspired to create a Model UN group at MMA after having conversations with other international cadets at MMA.
“It all started by hearing different opinions from cadets about their countries, backgrounds and identity. I had an idea about creating something – a club – that would enable them to share their ideas, not only with themselves, but also with other students from different backgrounds," Cadet Kuzwayezu said. “Model UN presented to me as the perfect, ideal club to do so.”
Currently, MMA’s Model UN club has 13 members. These members include:
Landry Rudasingwa from Rwanda
Fernando Afane from El Salvador
Elijah Asberry from Columbia, Missouri
Buyannemekh Buyantogtokh from Mongolia
Steven Clary from Plano, Texas
William Dunn from Urbandale, Iowa
Bilguun Erdenedava from Alameda, California
Delgermurun Javkhlantugs from Mongolia
Bano Karameyezu from Rwanda
Zachary Malone from New London, Missouri
Prize Mpabuka from Rwanda
Ganza Rugumire from Rwanda
A few topics cadets have already discussed include the presidential debate and the process of the U.S. election, COVID-19, climate change and foreign relations. They have also begun brainstorming ideas for writing position and resolution papers.
About Model UN
Many of today’s leaders in law, government, business and the arts – including at the UN itself – participated in Model UN as student.
As an international organization, Model UN aims to build and maintain strong links between the UN and Model UN participants across the globe. It does this by:
Providing detailed guides and workshops that teach students how to make their simulations more accurate
Visiting student-organized Model UN conferences and sharing firsthand knowledge of what the actual UN is like
By encouraging Model UN clubs to take real action to support UN values and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
“Model UN gives first-hand, quality knowledge on foreign policies, international relationships but most importantly cadets learn to be more open-minded towards cultural diversity, traditions, and beliefs,” said Anthony Yannielli, social studies instructor and faculty sponsor of the Model UN group at MMA. “Model UN gives cadets the ideas and tools they need to make real changes in the world.”
Cadet Kuzwayezu says one of the most exciting aspects of having Model UN at MMA, is the opportunities it will provide cadets in the future.
“Model UN helps students on their paths to college and careers – like getting into Ivy League universities and filling the youngest generation of employees at the UN,” Cadet Kuzwayezu said. “Officials from the UN Department of Public Information and organizations around the world teach students in Model UN and even help MUNers (Model UN participants) on their path to college, internships and careers.”
Model UN at MMA
At MMA, cadets will have the opportunity to participate in UN simulations. Each cadet will role play as delegates and mimic UN committees. Through these simulations, they will learn about diplomacy, international relations, current international issues and negotiation tactics.
While cadets learn about the finer details of international topics, they also learn about the process of negotiation. According to the Model UN guide, the only way to achieve your delegation's objectives through negotiation is to reach agreement with other delegations. In sum – this is not a debate club, this is a compromising club.
Model UN provides a training guide for negotiation, which includes topics such as competitive bargaining vs. cooperative problem solving, and how successful negotiators can prepare for their discussions.
This kind of mimicry serves as more than an outstanding educational opportunity – it also helps cadets learn to see things from a different perspective. In acting as a delegate for another country, they will need to consider that country’s values and best interests in their discussions. They will also need to balance those interests with empathy and understanding from other delegate’s needs.
“I am learning worldly knowledge; building confidence; and gaining analytical, problem solving, diplomacy, public speaking, networking, writing and leadership skills,” Cadet Kuzwayezu said. “Model UN has helped me understand how major worldwide decisions are made, which made me see the world from another perspective, which makes me more open-minded on the issues currently going on in the world. I believe all this will help me empower, lead and inspire wherever I go creating a sense of influence.”
Model UN Conferences
Model UN conferences, which are usually organized by the host school, give cadets the opportunity to put their delegation skills to the test.
Prior to a conference, cadets decide on a leadership structure, select Model UN leaders, assign countries and collaborate on topics. During a conference, cadets discuss an issue, draft a resolution that will be tabled and distributed, introduce amendments, and then repeat the process for each tabled resolution.
At the end of the conference, outstanding delegates in each committee are recognized and given an award certificate. The best delegate in each committee will receive a gavel.
While a Model UN conference at MMA has not officially been scheduled, Cadet Kuzwayezu expressed how eager he is to begin planning one.
“Often [at Model UN conferences], students get to meet incredible leaders who deliver keynote addresses,” he said. “Notable keynote speakers to Model UN conferences [in the past] included UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, the director of the FBI, and even Pope Francis!”