[Nigeria Report] UN Model conference helps nurture global consciousness

On June 26th, about six hundred Korean university students gathered in Solbridge International School of Business, Woosong University in Daejeon for the 2012 Korean Students UN Model conference. It lasted for three days and it was a huge success. In this conference, students in Model UN conference adopted the role of delegates to the United Nations, and represented their chosen countries as a diplomat from the United Nations (UN) would have done. Delegates needed to play the role with integrity and authenticity. Role playing is a good way to help them improve qualification as leaders.

Cooperation is the primary goal of the delegate meetings and sessions but not always the norm, nor the most fun way of doing things. Belligerence, arrogance, irrationality, and even open hostility are openly encouraged during debate sessions, as long as these emotions and behaviors are within character for the countries that the delegate represents.

The objective of this Model UN is to seek, through discussion, negotiation and debate, solutions to the various problems of the world. And the goal of Model UN is to develop that global consciousness to the ‘next level’ through a simulation of the international multilateral diplomacy of the United Nations. Participants learn to adopt views and attitudes other than their own, and break away from narrow national self-interest and develop international cooperation.

Korea is seen as a homogeneous culture and there have been tons of reports, gossips, opinion articles from foreign students in Korea, visitors, etc that Koreans are hostile to foreigners. Furthermore, most foreigners complain that Koreans cannot understand English. Safely put, they allege that there is a huge language problem between Koreans and their foreign counterparts. This grossly untrue impression has been built into the heart of visitors and it is a misrepresentation of the people of Korea. Korea is a homogeneous country yes! It is a fact but to say that Koreans are not aware of cultures of other countries smacks of ignorance about Korea and her people.

Even in language, Koreans are not doing badly. People were astonished that in the conference, most of the attendees were fluent in English even though Korean language is the official language of the conference. It just shows that Koreans are better than how they are branded by their visitors. More important thing is what Korea stands to gain from such programs as the UN Model conference. As a manufacturing country that has multi-national companies, it is needed that the younger generation (the leaders of tomorrow) understand the increasing importance of learning about cultures of other countries and trying to play into the consciousness of trying to knowing what define the said country’s national character. This will be an asset in the near future when these young men and women will become leaders of this country.

What is important is the fact that those who accept others will in turn be accepted by others. In business, such acceptance will mean that products from that country will be welcomed in so many countries; thereby putting the country in good stead for economic progress. The negative effect of cultural ignorance is always telling on the ignorant party.

But reading about other cultures online and acting like them can be like a double edge sword. This readings or simulations may become a stereotype which may even lead to the person to be prejudice to the said country without seeing anyone from that country. This part must also be watched carefully in order not to destroy this intelligent idea.

Uwalaka Temple U.B Intern Reporter news@theasian.asia

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