Students are coming together to plan an International Court of Justice (ICJ) conference for the Wheaton community to be occurring next fall semester.
As a branch-off of Wheaton’s existing Model United Nations club, the real ICJ is the primary judicial branch of the United Nations. The ICJ debates and decides cases of international law as a functionary of the wider UN organization. Wheaton Model UN members Shruti Sudarsan ‘19 and Joshua Kelly ‘17 conceived the idea to hold an ICJ conference as a way for those interested in the legal process to gain some hands-on, practical experience. Sudarsan says she was inspired to plan an ICJ conference after participating in Model UN throughout high school while living in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. “MUN is great, but I’ve been challenged through and grown the most from ICJ, and I want to improve the scope of Wheaton’s current MUN program.”
As of right now, Kelly says that participation in the simulation will only be open to Wheaton students that have applied to be lawyers, judges or the Vice President of the court. However, the weekend-long conference will be open to the Wheaton community to watch and engage in. Kelly says that the conference is a great way for students to apply skills they learn in the classroom. “Students participating in the conference are not limited to just practicing debate and public speaking but also in depth research skills on court cases, which doesn’t always happen in the classroom. It’s a more practical way of learning,” says Kelly. Kelly also says that the ICJ forum allows those in the audience to engage with international relations in more practical way and to see inner workings of international institutions.
As of right now, Sudarsan says that most of the students interested in participating in the conference are Political Science or International Relations majors. However, both Kelly and Sudarsan hope that by continuing to host events like this, they can increase student interest in diplomacy.