Emory students host American Mock World Health Organization Conference

By John Baker Brown, Emory Campus Life | Emory Report | Oct. 4, 2017

Story image

Student leaders pose at the 2016 American Mock World Health Organization Conference hosted at Emory. This year's conference is set for Oct. 13-15, also at Emory.

“Climate Change: The Global Health Response” will be the focus when more than 200 students from around the world gather at Emory for the fourth annual American Mock World Health Organization Conference, Oct.13-15.

Emory's chapter of the American Mock World Health Organization (AMWHO) is hosting the conference for the second consecutive year. Founded in 2015, AMWHO Emory is one of 21 chapters affiliated with the national organization.

The goal of the conference is to encourage participants “to expand [their] knowledge of global health issues, think critically about the political, economic and cultural barriers that challenge global health leaders, and work together in drafting resolutions that will be sent to the World Health Organization [WHO] in Geneva, Switzerland," according to its website.

“Conference participants will divide into groups representing five geographic areas that span approximately 190 countries,” says Ashwini Krishnamurthy, executive co-director of the event. “Each group will develop resolutions to address some of the international community’s most pressing health-related challenges around climate change.” 

When the participants reconvene in plenary session, each group will present its resolutions for review and critique by others. The best will be forwarded for review and response to WHO international headquarters.    

While the focus is global health, the conference is a valuable experience for many students pursuing other career paths, Krishnamurthy notes.

“We encourage participation by students in disciplines like environmental science, political science and public policy,” says the Emory junior with a double major in finance and human health. “Last year, we even had students with debate backgrounds attend.”

Conference speakers are an interdisciplinary mix of experts in global health and associated fields, including scholars from Emory and other higher education institutions, as well as representatives from government and nongovernmental agencies. A panel discussion will feature 10 experts in fields ranging from climate change and health to law and government.

The keynote speaker for the opening ceremony is Daniel Rochberg, chief strategy officer for the Climate@Emory initiative, instructor in the Rollins School of Public Health and co-founder of the Georgia Climate Project. Rochberg served for 17 years in the Bush and Obama administrations and was a member of delegations to multiple United Nations climate and development conferences. 

The closing keynote speech will be delivered by Thomas H. Armbruster, former U.S. ambassador to the Republic of the Marshall Islands. During more than a quarter century in foreign service, his postings also include Cuba, Finland, Mexico, Russia and Tajikistan. Armbruster is fluent in Spanish and Russian.

 According to Krishnamurthy, AMWHO nurtures the global health experts of tomorrow, and the conference at Emory will help equip participants to improve health conditions around the world and prevent future health crises.

“This conference recognizes that we all share an increasingly interconnected planet where our actions influence health and well-being beyond our immediate surroundings,” says Krishnamurthy, who was born and raised in a small town in Missouri. 

“When poor health conditions in one country can impact populations thousands of miles away overnight, global health must become the concern of every nation and every member of our global community.”  

Late registration is available for $74 through Oct. 7. Nonparticipating observers may register for $30 for all sessions or $15 for the Friday plenary sessions at which region-specific groups of participants will present and discuss their resolutions.