Model United Nations focuses partly on North Korea

AURORA - Several months ago, Sherri Oakes signed up to be a part of a unique learning exercise at the Community College of Aurora. Little did she know that events over the past few days would cast her in a leading role - as the villain.

"I am representing North Korea and the nuclear weapons," said Oakes, a student studying to be a teacher. "Once I tell [people] that I'm representing Korea, let me tell you, I get quite a bit of responses back."

Oakes is one of more than 200 students from different areas of study at the Community College of Aurora taking place in what the organizer calls the first Model U.N. at a Colorado college in three decades.

"If students are able to practice and engage the classroom learning, then they will be actually able to retain it," said Dr. Bobby Pace, Coordinator for Political Science at CCA.

Pace says teachers and students have been preparing for this two-day event for months. The students will focus on several issues including terrorism, medical care, and international security.

"We're focusing on the nuclear crisis in North Korea," said Pace. "Of course, in October, we didn't know that was going to be a timely issue, but luckily I'm clairvoyant."

Oakes says the subject intrigued her which is why she chose to North Korea's nuclear policy. She says she doesn't believe in it, but now she says her perspective has changed.

"I would think like everybody else and a lot of people think they're crazy," said Oakes. "I see their point of view. I really do."
Oakes says she never realized that North Korea how much has felt threatened by neighboring countries.

"They feel like they're the underdog," said Oakes.

Aric Smith is her direct counterpart. He is assigned the stance of the United States on North Korea's nuclear policy. He looks forward to a healthy debate.

"It'll be interesting to see what she proposes," said Smith. "I'm hoping she'll negotiate and she wants to be diplomatic about this."

The Model U.N. was made possible by a $35,000 grant by the Colorado Community College System which will allow CCA to run a Model U.N. over the next two years. It will wrap up on Saturday.

"We have a variety of different faculty members here who have been integrating this into their curriculum," said Pace.

Oakes looks like she enjoys being the villain.

"On this topic, it's really changed me and my perspective on different countries," said Oakes.


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