The Old Dominion University Model United Nations Society is ODU's window on the United Nations and international activism. The Society's mission is promoting global, multicultural education and leadership experience through experiential learning, stressing student participation in simulation conferences and academic courses. We represent the university at model U.N., European Union, Nato and crisis simulation conferences around the country, and by organizing major simulations of our own , including U.N. Day in October and ODUMUNC, held every February. Membership is open to students from all colleges and disciplines at the university.
The Model United Nations Society was established in 1977 by a group of Old Dominion University students who were interested in International Affairs. The main purpose was to promote further understanding of the United Nations, international issues, and the global community. The first faculty advisor of the society was Dr. Jerome B. Bookin-Weiner. In the 1980s and '90s it was expanded through the guidance of Dr. David Hager, Professor of Political Science and later university vice-president, and Dr. Chris Drake, professor of Geography. From 1993 through 2007 the program was supervised by Professor Maria Fornella.
Today the society has a membership of about fifty ODU students, with majors ranging from political science and international studies to chemistry and military science. The society sponsors the annual U.N. Day conference and study trips to New York, and the ODU Model UN Conference (ODUMUNC) for high schools. It represents the university in at least five college conferences annually, including collegiate model U.N., crisis simulation and model Nato meetings.
The first ODU Model UN Conference for high schools was held in 1978 at ODU's Webb Center. In attendance were sixty students from regional high schools, supported by a secretariat of three ODU students. In 1984, ODUMUN was moved to Norfolk's Waterside Sheraton Hotel (then the Omni Waterside), its home ever since. By 1988, the conference was attended by 81 high schools from ten states and more than one-thousand participating student delegates, organized by a secretariat of over fifty ODU students.
The society and its activities grew along with the years through the dedication of its members and countless others. Amongst them is Dr. Jean-Bernard Gazarian, who first participated as a guest speaker in the sixth ODUMUN in 1983 and has remained since a loyal friend to the society and its members ever since. In recent years Society members have participated in:
The society also is active supporting individual students who have helped establish new conferences and advanced international simulations. One of our members, Zaruhi Harutunyan (c/o 2004), established the first Model U.N. Conference in Yerevan, Armenia, in 2001. Through the pioneering work of Boyan Stanoev (c/o 2008) we have strong connection with the Youth Atlantic Treaty Association (YATA) of the Atlantic Treaty Association. Stanoev has travelled to over a dozen conferences representing ODU and Bulgaria, his home country.
The society also is proud to sponsor and co-sponsor a variety of events on campus designed to promote engagement with international affairs and worthy causes. In 2008-2009 these included co-sponsoring a Town Hall meeting with Congressman Glenn Nye, General Ron Sconyers, the President of Physicians for Peace, and international hum rights attorney Jastina Dillon. The Society is an active fundraising organization. Major beneficiaries include Tamani Africa in Kenya, an NGO created by ODU alumni Angelia Sanders, UNICEF and Relay for Life.