Each year more than 100 UW-Green Bay students learn what it’s like to take part in a United Nations summit of countries.
The UN Global Summit exercise opens the door for students to experience what it takes to collaborate and negotiate with other “countries” to adopt global resolutions on sustainability.
The project uses an interdisciplinary approach as student groups need to research a country’s politics, economics, environmental issues and social issues, and then interact with other countries using meeting, negotiation and public relations skills to build alliances.
“This is something that you can’t learn from a book,” sophomore Jeff Grondin said. “You have to learn it by doing. And the only real other situation you’d be able to learn like this is if you were actually at a UN situation.”
Learn more about the campus exercise in the related video.
A United Nations Global Summit
At UW-Green Bay
Lecturer, Public and Environmental Affairs
The Global Summit Project is a group activity where six individuals get together to research a country and look at environmental, economic, social issues, and figure out how that country can best move forward on a path to sustainability.
And then the countries get together at an event we have called the “Global Summit” itself, where they work to collaborate and negotiate with other nations to adopt one whole global resolution on sustainability.
As far as some of the objectives, one is to help students to increase global citizenship. I think this helps to show some of the other political issues in other countries. And, especially, (gives) a real life-lesson in politics, looking at negotiating, collaborating, trying to get things done and seeing just how things really do get done in a mock setting really captures what happens in legislative intuitions across the world.
Prof. Katia Levintova
Public and Environmental Affairs
Increasingly, the comments that I do see after the summit, because students have to reflect on that experience, is the understanding of interdependence that exists between countries. The real sense of empathy that they start feeling toward their countries; they really start to represent the countries as if they were citizens of that country. They start to understand diversity of experiences that exist in the world and they start to really care about their countries. My hope is that 10 years from now they can still look at the news, see Spain, for example, and start thinking about, well, “hmm, Spain, I know something about this country and I am interested in following the news about politics, economics, or culture of that country.”
Sophomore, Communications Major
I felt the project was extremely beneficial. As I had previously stated, this is something that you can’t learn from a book. You have to learn it by doing. And the only real other situation you’d be able to learn like this is if you were actually at a UN situation.
Junior, Human Biology Major
It was more hands-on, so it was more ‘as-you-go, you learn.’ It’s another way to be able to learn things and see things from a different perspective. For me, it was very beneficial. I knew very little about politics coming in, and I still don’t know much, but it gave me a better perspective of how things really are run in the global world. I give a lot of credit to those who can do it, because it is a lot of hard work.
Two things that I see—one, I think they really get a sense of how different things are across the world. Not only getting a sense of different cultural and economic issues in the countries, but also very different systems of politics and governance structures. I think that is really eye-opening for them.
Also, it’s really fun to see them get into it. I think once some nations start to move forward and get into it, I think it’s a challenge or competitive nature that brings out other students. I think they really dive into it and get excited about it and that’s really neat to see.