UA International Relations Club hosts ALMUN conference

This weekend, high school students debated in Lloyd Hall on how they would handle a zombie apocalypse if they were the United Nations during the Alabama Model United Nations Conference.

“They decide if the zombies are people and have rights or to shoot them,” Kyle Borland, secretary general of ALMUN, said. “The students are really enjoying it.”

The conference was held by one of the four branches of the Alabama International Relations Club. Borland said they have been preparing for the ALMUN conference since last summer.

The conference was composed of four committee sessions that lasted roughly three to four hours apiece in Lloyd Hall. Throughout eight different rooms, committees made up of only high school students met to discuss and debate various national topics.

“There are two types of committees, general assemblies and crisis,” Borland said.

The general assemblies deal with parliamentary procedure, while crisis deals with a real-time scenario given a set period of time. In crisis, the students represent a character and debate from their character’s point of view based on the country they represent.

“A lot of work goes into ALMUN and a lot of heavy recruitment,” Lubna Alansari, a junior majoring in chemical engineering and president of the International Relations Club, said.

ALMUN is an organization composed of UA student staff members that assist high school students holding this conference. The mission of the club is to provide high school students in the Southeast with the opportunity to come together as delegates of different United Nations committees to discuss topics that affect the global community.

“The organization has around 80 members,” Alansari said. “We have eight high schools from the southeastern region. We attend six different conferences throughout the world every year.”

High school students were delegated countries to debate national issues such as economic crisis and climate change, based on the point of view of their assigned country.

“I’m very passionate about global issues,” Alansari said. “It helps you to be open to new experiences and look into other cultures and see how they run from an international business aspect.”

Each member of the conference is presented a handbook containing debate etiquette and guidelines for conference participation.

“We give three awards for each committee so a total of 18 awards are given at the end of the conference,” Alanasari said.

Alabama International Relations Club hosts many other events aside from ALMUN that include foreign language classes, on-campus speakers and movie screenings. The semester dues are $15, which pay for the conferences only. For international conferences, all expenses except for food are paid for by the University.

“We have been to Canada, Singapore, Taiwan and Japan,” Alansari said.

Anyone is welcome to come to the meetings that are held on Thursdays in Bidgood 140.

“We aren’t restricted by majors,” Borland said. “We have engineering, to PR majors to international business. Everyone is in it.”

Alanasari said the Alabama International Relations Club is including of all students, which also includes international students.

“I’m an international student myself, and it helped me to adjust to life here and American culture,” Alanasari said. “It really helps you to get involved.”

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