(Posted October 21, 2002)

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- Area high school students will debate and discuss whether the United States should enter into a pre-emptive war with Iraq, Friday, Oct. 25 from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Ellis College Center, as part of a Model United Nations conference for local high school students sponsored by Juniata College.

"This issue is probably the most timely we have ever taken on," says Emil Nagengast, associate professor of politics at Juniata. "The country and many politicians are very concerned with how America approaches the issues facing the Middle East and the war on terrorism."

More than 120 students on teams from State College Area High School, Altoona Area High School, Huntingdon Area High School, Bellefonte Area High School, Juniata Valley High School, Wyoming Seminary and Lewistown Area High School, as well as other schools, will attend the one-day event.

Nagengast says a model U.N. conference gives high school students and their teachers a chance to participate in simulated international negotiations and diplomatic scenarios. Students in high school United Nations clubs are given background briefing materials 30 days before the conference. Each club is assigned a country or countries to represent and given assignments to participate in other United Nations organizations such as the Security Council or the World Health Organization.

The Model U.N. conference will include two special sessions to allow students to react to the issues surrounding an Iraq-United States war and its effect on the Middle East. There will be a session of the National Security Council addressing "The War with Iraq," with Juniata sophomore Eli Finberg, of Margaretville, N.Y., standing in for Pres. George W. Bush. The United Nations Security Council session will address "Israel and Palestine."

Other sessions and topics include: the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, "Reconsidering NATO's Role;" the United Nations Environment Program, "Fresh Water/Water Conflict;" the Organization of American States, "Free Trade Areas of the Americas;" and the World Trade Organization, "Agriculture Trade Reform."

The conference is sponsored and staged by the Juniata College Model United Nations Club. About 35 Juniata students will participate in the events and oversee the various committees and sessions. The student secretary general for the conference is Scott Kofmehl, a senior from Pittsburgh, Pa. At the end of the day, each committee will choose a Best Delegate Award as well as several Outstanding Delegate Awards.

The regional Model U.N. conference is in its fourth consecutive year at Juniata.

The Juniata students serving as committee chairs are: NATO: Jesse Rhodes, a senior from Franklin Ind.; U.N. Security Council: Sarah Kimmerle, a sophomore from Allentown, Pa.; U.N. Environmental Program: Hillary Bright, a junior from Spruce Creek, Pa.; U.N. Development Program: Donna Chung, a senior from Los Angeles, Calif.; Organization of American States: Dana Snyder, a senior from Herndon, Pa.; Committee on Human Rights: Emila Brkic, a sophomore from Bethlehem, Pa.; and World Trade Organization: Jeremy Weber, a sophomore from Mohnton, Pa.

Contact April Feagley at feaglea@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3131 for more information.