Josh Groves Wins Award at Vienna Model UN

ABILENE, TX (09/04/2013)(readMedia)-- Josh Groves of Lindale, Texas, was one of four Hardin-Simmons University students to participate in the Vienna International Model United Nations conference in Austria last month.

The HSU students were among 250 students from 40 countries at the conference. HSU professor of management and leadership and the director of the Leadership Studies Program, Dr. Coleman Patterson, said the trip to the Model United Nations is one of the many things the leadership program does to prepare students for leadership on a global scale.

Students attending have the opportunity to authentically simulate negotiations of specific committees and organizations within the United Nations. Prior to leaving for Vienna, participants chose a country and researched their chosen country's position regarding specific topics. At the conference, they step into the shoes of diplomats and represent the country in the committee. Through debate and negotiation the students bring forward new solutions and solve world conflicts with their own resolutions.

Groves, representing Canada, was honored with a "Best Delegate" award for his outstanding participation on the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime committee, which was the largest committee at the conference.

Groves said he appreciated the efforts of the Europeans and those from other continents to express themselves in English at the English-language conference. "English was not the first language of most of the participants, but we all worked together for a common goal."

Patterson says students improve their negotiation and public speaking skills at these events. "They also become better team-workers, and are able to practice the leadership skills they have already acquired. They gain insight into the work of a UN diplomat and learn to make practical use of political knowledge."

The Vienna conference is especially hallowed because the city was, for many centuries, the center of the Habsburg Empire. The once imperial capital of the world is known for its Vienna Congress and as a consummate meeting place for international conferences.

Vienna is also one of the United Nations capitals with about 4,000 people from all over the world working for Vienna-based international organizations such as the International Atomic Energy Agency, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. In addition, Vienna serves as headquarters for OPEC, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries.

"The conference, which took place at the UN complex in Vienna, gave our students experience in diplomacy at one of the most authentic United Nations simulation conferences offered in the world," says Patterson, "and they gained that experience with students from countries from all across the world."

Topics discussed by the students included the Relevance of Human Rights in the 21st Century; Prevalence of the Use of Alcohol; Illicit Nuclear Trafficking; The Sovereign Debt Crisis: Europe and the International Monetary Fund; and discussion on a timely and urgent topic – the very real and serious developments in Syria.

As Patterson leads the students in debriefing on the European experience, they will have the opportunity to reflect on diplomacy in action, problem solving, politics, and what they learned about themselves during the conference. They will be required to provide insights and examples regarding learned leadership and teamwork skills, and how they can now better communicate with people from around the world.