Six student delegates from the UTA Model North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) travelled to Washington, DC in February for a unique, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to represent Iceland. The trip was part of the highly competitive Model NATO international competition, hosted by Howard University, where university students from the United States and Europe compete in model proceedings of NATO. Delegations are presented a hypothetical crisis to resolve by representing one NATO member state. In doing so, delegations are expected to take into consideration the stances and interests of the countries they represent.
The MODEL NATO experience is a valuable asset for UTA students in their pursuit of careers and ongoing scholastic and service-oriented goals. “All of the skills learned and practiced here- public speaking, problem solving, working with a very large team, working under lots of stress, I will take into my next job and the job after that,” said Dylan Odekirk, President of UTA Model NATO
As part of the MODEL NATO conference, the UTA delegation received a briefing at the embassy of Iceland. “The Ambassador of Iceland was very humble and extremely intelligent,” said Odekirk. “The amazing thing I found is the respect Icelanders have for their land. This is rare to see in the world, and it is reassuring that it’s possible for a country and a populous to reach an understanding that their country is their home. The land and nature should be treated respectfully.”
For students, participation in the conference is an enriching real-world educational experience, providing a venue for active involvement in research and debate on national and international political and security issues. “Model NATO is an excellent opportunity to increase UT Arlington’s presence and visibility in both the national and international communities,” said Dr. Lonny Harrison, UTA Model NATO Faculty Advisor, Assistant Professor of Russian, and Head of Critical Languages and International Studies. “The conference also provides a rare opportunity for students of UT Arlington to visit the nation’s capital and view historic landmarks and national monuments.”
Representatives for UTA Model NATO included:
• Dylan Odekirk – President
• William Erbe – Vice President
• Micah Morse – Awarded “Outstanding Delegate” by his committee
• Ricardo Ortiz
• Marcus Braymer
• Lance Patterson
One experience in particular at the conference impacted Dylan Odekirk. “During the opening ceremony, one of the professors indicated that us being there was reassuring him that we are able to handle the problems of this generation. We have what it takes to carry on the legacy that they carried on from their predecessors,” said Odekirk. “This event was a chance for us to discuss what is really happening in this world. We had the power to give our ideas for protecting NATO members from war and from violence. It was a very empowering experience.”
Students’ enthusiasm for the Model NATO experience led to the creation of a conference in North Texas to be held the weekend of Nov 11-13, 2016. UTA students are handling the logistics of the event and inviting local high schools to participate, many of which have a debate team, or model UN. The conference registration fee will be part of fundraising efforts for UTA students travel to the Model NATO international competition next February.
The UTA Model NATO delegation recently received the news that they will represent Norway as their member state in 2017, as well as Russia (a non-member which attends NATO in the capacity of “Partnership for Peace”).
For more information, visit the UTA Model NATO Facebook Page.