The Mobile Convention Center ballroom was engulfed in debate. At issue was resolution ES 103A, a bill dealing with climate change that, among other things, would place a tariff on the United States and other countries that are not taking sufficient measures to address it.
“This provides economic incentive, which is something rarely seen in the United Nations, making it actually one of the only effectual bills in this section,” said a delegate representing Russia.
A delegate representing Liberia took issue, however, during her time at the microphone.
“Liberia understands the issues associated with climate change, but we do not support 103A because it places a tariff on the United States, our main trading partner,” she said. “I understand that you guys would like to solve climate change, but by placing an economic block on the United States, it negatively affects the economy of my country.”
These delegates and more than 400 other students from 10 high schools in Mobile and Baldwin counties debated a wide range of issues while learning how the United Nations operates by taking part in Davidson’s Invitational Model United Nations this week at the Mobile Convention Center.
The program, which has been hosted by Davidson for the past 41 years, emulates the process and goals of the actual United Nations in New York, which provides an international forum for delegates to communicate and cooperate within a diplomatic setting.
“It gives students an opportunity to explore other perspectives,” Davidson senior Nolan Lenard said of DIMUN. “All the countries draft resolutions to try to change something for the better on topics like climate change. It is very intricate and involved, the parliamentary procedure.”
With students representing more than 100 countries in a program designed to operate like the real UN, DIMUN teaches students to respect each other and value international diversity. Students discuss global problems and propose solutions in a structure that encourages debate. Students take time before the event to craft proposals, which are debated and culled during committee meetings on the first day of the event. Those proposals selected to be put forward are then debated and put up for a vote in the general assembly, where all the delegates meet as one body.
Some of the proposal topics addressed by students this year included terrorism, refugees, infectious diseases, women’s rights and the Syrian conflict. Joining Davidson students in this year’s event were students from Murphy, Baker, Mary Montgomery, Alma Bryant and several private schools and Baldwin County schools.
“It really gives all the students, including myself, an opportunity to feel more involved in something a lot bigger than us, a lot bigger than the daily life of a teenager,” said Davidson senior Abbigail Madden. “You can feel like you’re contributing and giving back to something, even if it is just a mock situation.”
Davidson students created DIMUN in 1977 as a class project, beginning with a handful of students and a few empty classrooms.
“The great thing about it is that while Davidson hosts it and we run it, all the schools merge together and we really work as one big group – Baldwin and Mobile counties, public and private schools,” said Davidson social studies teacher and DIMUN sponsor Ginger Golson. “It’s a great program that we host every year.”