The United Nations an exercise in global citizenship | Opinion

At the beginning of October, Koyo National University organized the third edition of the Model UN University. In this role-play, students from different disciplines choose a country to represent, discuss, and build agreements in order to arrive at consensual solutions to global and local problems.

Although UN simulations are a common practice in Argentina and the world, both at secondary and university levels, the model designed by Cuyo National University has at least three distinct characteristics that make it an effective tool for training soft skills, which is likely to be replicable with others. Universities.

On the other hand, since the university itself is responsible for designing the model, the discussions are not limited to global issues, but rather relate to specific local realities. This deliberate connection between the local and the global is key to addressing the complex problems, typical of the era of changing digital globalization. The case of global warming is perhaps the clearest example of this, where actions at the local level are necessary for a comprehensive approach and to ensure change at the global level.

The second element that defines this model is related to the previous training process, in which the study and research centers of the same university prepared the participants for the meeting three months in advance. These courses are not subject to strict methodological programs at times, creating a platform for free discussion, where students are enriched, but also academics and researchers who are part of the specialist centres.

The third major dimension of the model organized by UNCUYO relates to the inclusion of a body in which discussions should have been developed entirely in English. This format is a novelty in the models made in Argentina and allows students to implement their language skills at the highest level. This exercise forces the participants to go through all the exercises in English, changing the focus of the language training: competency is not learned as an end in itself, but competencies are a tool for improving the quality of the discussion.

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Cuyo National University’s proposal in this field is an innovation for universities in Argentina and contributes to the transition from higher education to linguistic and multicultural competencies. During the three days of the show, as in previous editions, there was great enthusiasm, commitment and respect. Students demonstrated that they have studied and understood national realities, their history and cultures. There were heated discussions, which began with semi-hostile positions, but later reconciled as a result of dialogue and collective building.

The potential of soft, linguistic and intercultural competencies to raise the quality of educational programs and higher education as a whole is important today and is increasingly valuable in research to improve employment conditions for students in Argentina. Competency training is a contemporary need that universities must undertake for integrated development.

*Secretary for Research, International Studies and Graduate Studies at UNCUYO National University (UNCUYO).

** International Relations Coordinator at UNCUYO.

Aileen Morales

"Beer nerd. Food fanatic. Alcohol scholar. Tv practitioner. Writer. Troublemaker. Falls down a lot."

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