Allison Koehler, former Secretary-General for the National High School Model United Nations (NHSMUN), a project of the International Model United Nations Association (IMUNA), is currently transitioning into a position as IMUNA Board of Directors Member At-Large, Koehler said.
IMUNA is the world’s largest model United Nations conference. The organization holds NHSMUN, an annual four-day United Nations simulation conference in New York City. For four decades, IMUNA has lead the way in providing engaging opportunities for students and empowering “young learners with the skills to be responsible global citizens,” according to IMUNA’s website.
The conference allows students of all ages, middle school to university, to participate in committees, representing actual international and state delegates, in a United Nations simulation, right down to parliamentary procedure, Koehler said.
Koehler, an eighth-semester political science major, said she has been working with the University of Connecticut Model United Nations (UCMUN) since her freshman year of high school all the way until now, her senior year in college.
“UConn has an excellent Model UN organization themselves, and they have a great conference I used to be on staff for,” Koehler said.
In 2014, Koehler said she served as Assistant Director for The United Nations Children’s Fund for UConn’s Model United Nations conference, and in 2015 was promoted to director for the conference. After her term as director in the simulation, Koehler said she ended her UCMUN career to focus on her role in Administrative Affairs through IMUNA.
In her latest position as Secretary-General for NHSMUN, Koehler said she was responsible for organizing administrative logistical aspects as well as putting on the conference itself.
“I dealt a lot with international partners, with students themselves, as well as their teachers and faculty and managing a staff of 149 international university students,” Koehler said.
The most beneficial aspect of her job, Koehler said, was interacting and working with students from diverse backgrounds.
“You really learn to talk with people you’ve never would have spoken with before,” Koehler said. “It also came with the ability to speak in public and listen to people whom I may disagree with and end up working with them and compromising. It taught me taught a lot about the world in general by working with people from different countries.”
Koehler said she used her role in IMUNA to travel to Italy, China and Dubai in April to teach public speaking and debate skills.
Although Koehler’s role as Secretary-General came to an end this March, she hopes to be transitioned to a leading role in management or working with international partners because she said the emphasis on diverse backgrounds and international relationships has made all her years of effort worth it.
“Model UN is not just for privileged people from a wealthier background because I do think that is basically how people view Model UN,” Koehler said. “It’s not just for people really into academia or political science majors…. It’s really important that the dialogue on Model UN is not just shut off at those people from the stereotypical backgrounds, but we help to expand the voices that are heard.”
Lillian Whittaker is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at email@example.com.