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Public Affairs : Cadets conduct integrative exercise via Model UN Security Council meeting

Cadets conduct simulation exercise via Model UN Security Council meeting

By Class of 2014 Cadet Theodore Fong

WEST POINT, N.Y. (Jan. 9, 2013) -- Cadets in the Advanced Introduction to International Relations (SS357) course applied their understanding of international relations with a simulation exercise using a Model United Nations Security Council session.

Fifty-three cadets met in four different groups– culminating Dec. 10 in Jefferson Hall – to discuss and debate what resolutions the UN Security Council should pass pertaining to a real-world complex humanitarian emergency.

Every cadet researched their assigned country’s foreign policy and domestic situation and assumed the role of a United Nations ambassador for this particular two-part exercise under the guidance of Majs. Brian Babcock-Lumish and Keith Benedict, the SS357 instructors from the Department of Social Sciences.

Given only four hours total, participants presented their original positions on a draft resolution, heard from various actors with interests in the affected region and voted on a final draft resolution. To reach this goal, each cadet considered the various courses of action in light of their state’s interests pertaining to the international crisis, while seeking ways to gain influence and promote broader cooperation.

The exercise charged cadets with viewing the world from a different vantage point, challenging many of their own assumptions about various states’ actions. “I found it difficult to find information on my country’s views and found myself inserting my own ideas accidentally,” Class of 2014 Cadet Luke Groom said, “but it was good to practice using negotiation skills and seeing what an international debate would look like.”

“This experience encouraged me to think critically about political structures and relationships around the world, and I have gained valuable insight on the complexity of negotiation and compromises between countries,” Class of 2015 Cadet Melissa Yasnowski said.

At the end of the exercise, the Security Council passed only five out of 12 amendments to the draft resolution. Although the participants found it challenging to promote substantive compromise, every cadet developed a new appreciation for the challenges of foreign policy.

“It’s a miracle anything gets done,” Class of 2014 Cadet Stu Topp said.

Class of 2013 Cadet Paul Johnson was equally surprised by the results.

“It made me a lot more informed about how difficult it can be for the United Nations to come to some sort of agreement.”

Despite these challenges, the exercise allowed cadets to consider different perspectives and approaches to international relations and further apply their understanding of the social sciences to contemporary world events.

“The integrative exercise challenges cadets to consider how other states view potential humanitarian interventions, a scenario they are likely to face in their careers as officers. It also teaches the way in which diplomatic and military power are complementary, both vital to advancing states’ interests,” Babcock-Lumish said.
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Cadets discuss in an open forum to present their respective countries’ stance, while seeking possible solutions to compromise. Courtesy photos

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Class of 2013 Cadet Sebastian Smoak presents an argument for compromise to other cadets in a multilateral discussion.

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Class of 2014 Cadet Joey Hannigan argues his country’s stance on what the other countries should consider.