Model UN

  • The 64th Session of The Gannon University Model United Nations will convene November 11 and 12, 2016 on the Gannon campus. Founded to promote an understanding of the complex problems of international affairs as well as the purposes and functions of the United Nations, the Gannon Model U.N. will draw together some 500 students representing approximately 40 high schools in the tri-state area. For those who have never participated in such a conference, the Model U.N. offers a challenging education in the dealings among nations.

    In the spring or early fall, delegations are assigned country designations and encouraged to begin to study the issues which will be under consideration at the forthcoming assembly. As much as possible, the students are to learn the viewpoint of the government they are assigned to represent, and are to attempt to speak and vote according to the interests of that country.

    During the fall the member delegations meet in regional blocs, corresponding to geographic and ideological groupings within the United Nations itself, to begin to debate the issues and to formulate strategies for the General Assembly. Gannon advisors may attend these block meetings to assist their organization.

  • History

    Father Joseph J. Barr, Ph. D., then chairman of Gannon College's political science department, founded the Model United Nations. The International Relations Club originated the concept of Model United Nations at what was then known as Gannon College. Eleven high schools in the Erie area participated in the event. In March of 1954, the IRC held the first Model United Nations conference for high school students in the Erie area. Since then the conference has grown to include more than 800 students from 50 high schools in the tri-state area and Canada. 

    Father Barr believed that the U.N. could bring us closer to world unity if every person has faith. For Father Barr, the Model United Nations had two purposes. First, the Model U.N. should give students the opportunity to learn more about world problems, and in particular, to see the different viewpoints and positions which are at work in the United Nations. Second, it should provide experience in organization, leadership, and debate as well as bring together college and high school students to work as a team.

    As participation increased, the Model assembly was divided into regional blocs beginning in 1958. In 1967, a model Security Council was added to the conference. In 1995, a model Economic and Social Council was added. Also, as the attendance grew, the agenda was expanded to include more topics of worldwide interest. 

    Father Barr stepped down as General Moderator in 1968. He left his project in the hands of Dr. James Brasfield, who moderated in the 16th and 17th sessions. In 1969, Dr. Gregor Reinhard took over the responsibility of General Moderator for Gannon's Model United Nations. Dr. Reinhard served as the General Moderator until 1996 when he was appointed Dean of the College of Humanities, Business, and Education. Mr. Paul Foust was named to replace Dr. Reinhard for the 45th annual Gannon Model United Nations, and has served as General Moderator since. 

    Since its inception, 55 Gannon students have served as Secretary General. Among them is Dr. David Kozak, professor and chairman of Gannon's political science department, who served as Secretary General in 1965. Hundreds more college students have served as staff members. Approximately 30,000 high school students have participated as delegates over the years.






    GA1 Peace and Security

    • Combatting the threat of new challenges in armed conflicts, including the control of lethal autonomous weapons and regulation of private security companies

    GA2 Economic and Financial

    • Encouraging international cooperation in the prevention, investigation, and prosecution of economic fraud and identity-related crime

    GA3 Special Group

    • Working toward universal principles for assistance and protection of international undocumented migrants

    GA4 Environmental

    • Strengthening the ability of all countries to deal with the impacts of climate change

    GA5 Health

    • Addressing the dangers of public health outbreaks on women and children   

    Security Council Topics

    • Current Events, Crisis Committee

    Historical Security Council

    • Year 1979


    Being part of a college Model UN staff is a great experience. Every year a dynamic group of Gannon students comes together to organize one of the oldest high school Model UN conferences in the nation. Although the majority are Political Science and International Affairs majors, other students from a wide range of majors in the arts and sciences also participate. Gannon students, under the direction of the Secretary General, handle everything from public relations to decorating the General Assembly to running the mock committees at the conference. Every year to kick off the conference weekend Gannon officers participate in a flag raising ceremony with the mayor who issues a proclamation for support.

    Contact Information

    Please send questions, comments, and requests to:

    For Faculty Moderator:
    Dr. Anjali Sahay
    Department of Political, Legal, and International Studies

    Mailbox: 3048
    Phone: 814 871 5535

    Secretary General (President): Katherine (Katie) Greissinger

    Assistant Secretary General (Vice President):  Emily Wise

    ***Any school with at least six interested students is welcome to participate.  All you need is a faculty member who is willing to serve as a moderator.  Don't be afraid to get involved!  We hope to hear from you!