PURCELLVILLE, Va. – Students from the homeschool-supporting Patrick Henry College in Virginia are launching pro-American, pro-family initiatives at the upcoming National Model United Nations after successfully competing for the past several years, including winning the top award two years ago.
The Model U.N. is an academic simulation of U.N. procedure in which participants representing delegations from each of the 192 countries debate policies and draft resolutions on issues ranging from nuclear proliferation to homeschooling. While many conservatives want to avoid or limit the U.N., the students of PHC take a different approach.
“The United Nations is a reality of the 21st century. It’s not going away,” said one team participant. “Christians cannot just ignore its importance in the world today. It is an international body that will likely remain in place for the foreseeable future, so it is crucial that we hone leaders with proper beliefs that can bring about reform internally.”
Students from the Christian school now actively are trying to raise support for their trip, a nominal expense for many publicly funded universities but a significant burden for a small, private institution. The team must raise $12,000 to participate and members have taken on various independent fundraisers. Those who wish to help sponsor the outreach are asked to contact the school, referencing the Model U.N. work.
While the National Model United Nations is a simulation, the resolutions developed at the event are passed on to the actual U.N. The real influence, however, occurs in mock committee sessions where students mingle with international students who often are unaware of concerns over life rights, national sovereignty, education rights and various other issues that the Patrick Henry team is committed to presenting.
PHC students also will need to debate hotly contested U.N. initiatives like the Convention on the Rights of the Child and will have an opportunity to bring a unique viewpoint to the conference.
The past few years, among nearly 2,500 international college students representing the best and brightest from more than 300 colleges and universities around the globe, Patrick Henry College students have taken home many awards, including the top award: Outstanding Delegation.
Other competing colleges include the University of Cairo, University of Munich, University of California Sacramento, California State Polytechnic University, Catholic University of America, Goethe University, National Taipei University of Technology, Istanbul Bilgi University, Syracuse University-Maxwell School, Sarah Lawrence College and Germany’s University of Regensburg.
While other delegations from American schools and international universities draft resolutions to crack down on global warming, waive national sovereignty and create a global tax, PHC delegations are committed to offering resolutions to fight human trafficking, amend existing U.N. documents to allow nations to retain national sovereignty, and promote homeschooling rights abroad.
The PHC Model U.N. team leader, Natasha Malik, says that the Model U.N. conference will give PHC students the opportunity to communicate their distinct philosophy of conservative realism in an idealistic international arena.
“Working on committees with more than 200 individuals that come from various backgrounds and hold different worldviews is a challenge,” Malik said. “It’s also an opportunity for PHC students to implement the skills of leadership, communication, and the classical liberal arts education that we learn at PHC, in a secular environment.”
“As Christians we are presented with the unique opportunity to share the Gospel with fellow students from around the world,” Malik said. “The relationships that we build over our week in New York continue into the school year, allowing our team to be a witness of Christ’s light and love to unbelievers searching for truth.”
Before PHC students can make good on their intentions, however, they must raise their funds through independent fundraising initiatives. While Patrick Henry College funds numerous forensic competitions – the school consistently is a national competitor in debate – it cannot allocate funds to the Model United Nations club in this year’s budget.
“We are praying that God provides us with the money that we need to compete this year,” said a team member. “All we can do is to remain faithful and work hard to represent our ideals and our school to the best of our abilities with the opportunities that we are given.”