For six University of Wisconsin Oshkosh students, it was a Thanksgiving break they’ll remember forever.
Last month the small group traveled from Oshkosh to Germany to represent UW Oshkosh at a National Model United Nations conference. Held Nov. 19-25 in Erfurt, Germany, it marked the first international trip in the more than 50-year history of UWO’s Model UN program.
“This conference was unlike any other National MUN conference that I have participated in,” said Elizabeth Tisler, a junior international studies and political science major. “It was fun to meet other people from other schools before the conference even started with the events the NMUN staff had planned for the schools. I am super proud of the team and all that was achieved at the conference.”
The group continued the MUN program’s tradition of excellence while overseas: UW Oshkosh earned two of the 12 overall Distinguished Delegations honors. With three of the students making up one award-winning delegation and the other three making up the other award-winning delegation, all six students played a role in their delegation earning the conference’s highest honor.
The students who participated:
- Trent Korth, junior psychology and political science major from Waukesha
- Mason Sada, junior business administration major from Clintonville
- Elaina Swafford, sophomore history major from DeKalb
- Elizabeth Tisler, junior international studies and political science major from Green Bay
- Meg Traska, senior psychology major from Winneconne
- Sebastian Vang, senior radio TV film major from Fond du Lac
UW Oshkosh students represented Malawi and Maldives in three UN committees: Swafford and Traska in the Human Rights Council, Vang and Sada in the UN Environment Assembly, and Tisler and Korth in the General Assembly.
The conference included teams from dozens of schools traveling from 12 countries and four continents. Each year, the National MUN organization holds three major conferences—one in New York, one in Washington D.C. and another at an international location. This year, Germany hosted the event, which marked the 50th anniversary of the country’s joining of the UN.
Beyond the MUN activities, the students were able to get in some cultural sightseeing. Among the places they visited was Point Alpha, an outlook post on the former border of East and West Germany; Wartburg Castle, home of St. Elizabeth of Thuringia and the place where Martin Luther translated the New Testament into German; and the Buchenwald concentration camp.
The students were joined by faculty co-advisers Tracy Slagter, political science professor, and Angela Subulwa, international studies director.
“I always tell students that any time they can spend in another country—whether a year, a semester or even a week—can be life-changing,” said Slagter. “For these six students to have this experience in Germany was phenomenal because it took something they know well, Model UN, and put it in an entirely new context. It taught them to be patient and flexible, to work under pressure, and to really appreciate being representatives of our campus to the world.
“I am immensely proud of the work they did, but also of how they conducted themselves throughout—these six were perfect examples of what Titans can do.”