International Studies Major Participates in Model G20 Summit

October 24, 2017
An image of Christine Oswald at the Model G20 Summit, hosted by American University's School of International Service.

Christine Oswald (pictured second from right), a current International Relations and Diplomacy major, recently represented Ohio State at the Model G20 Leaders’ Summit, hosted by American University’s School of International Service in Washington D.C. Read her report of the experience below! Christine is expected to graduate in December with a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies (International Relations and Diplomacy) and minors in Anthropology and Spanish.  

Written by: Christine Oswald

My name is Christine Oswald, and I am an International Studies major specializing in International Relations in Diplomacy. I am the president of The Collegiate Council on World Affairs and I compete on Ohio State’s Model United Nations team. It is currently my last semester here at OSU and in October, the International Studies program gave me the opportunity to travel to D.C. to participate in the first annual Model G20 Summit.

The Group of Twenty (G20) is an international forum for ensuring financial stability among the most economically influential states. October 2017 marked the first G20 simulation in North America at American University in Washington D.C. The Model G20 (MG20) simulation followed the layout and expectations of the real G20, inviting undergraduate and graduate students to “develop leadership skills in multilateral negotiations, public speaking, and diplomacy.” As one of two Ohio State students selected to participate, I can confirm that this summit has given me insights and leadership skills that I will carry with me throughout my career.

Just like the real G20 summit, the committee assignments are divided into two tracks: Sherpa and Finance. The Sherpa Track discusses issues like climate change, refugees, and development, while the Finance Track discusses the global economy, trade, and investment. In teams of 4-6, students are assigned to a delegation representing either a member country or an international organization. Students are expected to debate, negotiate, and create language for a Leaders’ Communiqué, passed by consensus. Each delegation then creates a unique action plan, detailing their country or organization’s plan to fulfill commitments that were negotiated throughout the summit.

I was assigned to the International Monetary Fund delegation along with Jordan Mosely, the other OSU student from the John Glenn College of Public Affairs. We shared our assignment with two American University students. Before the conference, we were tasked with selecting positions and completing research.  Jordan and I decided to take on the Sherpa track so we became thoroughly familiar with the IMF’s role and position on all of our expected topics. Although I compete on Ohio State’s Model UN team, the MG20 was a brand new experience. In Model UN, the goal is to negotiate action. While in the G20, the goal is to negotiate ideas and stances.   

Jordan and I spent the weekend defending the IMF’s stance on renewable energy, the role of refugees in the global economy, and even creating a Disaster Relief Fund in our Action Plan. At times, it seemed as if the committee would never reach an agreement on the language of the Leaders’ Communiqué but in the end, compromise was reached. During the final drafting session, we were faced with a crisis simulation, forcing all delegations to draft a joint statement on terrorism. The summit was followed by a simulated press conference and an award ceremony. Jordan and I were thrilled to receive a Verbal Commendation for our performance in the Sherpa track.

In addition to giving us an opportunity to improve our debate and negotiation skills, the summit featured high-level speakers, many of whom have participated in real G20 summits. I learned so much about diplomacy and created friendships with people from all over the world. I would recommend this groundbreaking simulation to anyone.