MacEwan United Nations Club members (including the club’s former Director-General Sean Waddinghim pictured here representing Austria) and students from two Ukrainian universities wrap up an intense one-week training session with a Model UN simulation.
Where in the world … Kyiv
This June, after three months of cross-Atlantic video conferences, students from the MacEwan United Nations Club finally got to meet their peers from two Ukrainian universities in person.
The peer-to-peer training project has the MacEwan club members sharing their expertise in international relations, foreign policy, diplomacy, public speaking and research to help establish Model UN delegations at National University Kyiv-Mohyla Academy (NaUKMA) and the Ukrainian Catholic University (UCU).
The students met up in Kyiv for a condensed, one-week version of the months of training the MacEwan club’s executives provide for their members each year.
But the Ukrainian students certainly weren’t the only ones learning.
In our “Where in the World” series, students and faculty members share highlights from this year’s study tours, exchanges, internships and field schools. Talk to a faculty advisor or visit MacEwan.ca/EducationAbroad for opportunities.
“I used to naively believe that travel ‘expands the mind’ was a bit of a silly trope, but that changed when I learned things on this trip that I otherwise wouldn’t have – hearing the history of the Kievan Rus Empire, seeing Soviet remnants in the architecture and understanding the contemporary struggle for an independent Ukraine,” says Sean Waddingham, former director-general of the MacEwan UN Club. “This experience showed me firsthand how high the stakes are in political and cultural discourse.”
The new appreciation Sean gained is exactly why Dr. Chaldenas Mensah feels the project is so valuable.
“As a newly independent country establishing itself in the global community, Ukraine will require a deep corps of diplomats to engage in fruitful relations with many countries around the world,” says the professor of political science who has been the faculty advisor for the MacEwan UN Club for 25 years. “The Canada-Ukraine project is a small contribution to building the skills of negotiations, learning the rules of procedure in the UN, and ensuring that the coming generation of Ukrainian diplomats get the benefits of experiential learning.”
The Ukrainian and Canadian students will meet once again in November 2019, this time in Erfurt, Germany where they will jointly participate in a National Model United Nations (NMUN) Conference. Then in March 2020 they’ll come together once again, joining thousands of students from around the globe for the world’s largest NMUN conference in New York.