University’s Model UN to participate in upcoming conferences

The Model United Nations team will be participating in the annual New York City National Model United Nations Conference in March as well as the University of Peace Conference in Costa Rica in February where members will get the opportunity to interact with other student delegations from around the world.

The university’s Model UN Team boasts 60 years of excellence and recognition in national and international conferences. Last year, during the 2012 spring semester, students participated in the prestigious Geneva International Model United Nations Conference in Switzerland, and won three awards. Student delegates also participated in the 2012 NMUN conference within the same semester, representing Tunisia and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, taking home more awards than any other university that participated in the conference.

The MUN team also participated in the Penn State Model United Nations Conference this past fall, and two university students have received verbal commendations for representing Monaco.

“Engaging in Model United Nations simulations prepares students for working in the global policymaking arena through hands-on training in diplomacy, research, public speaking and writing,” says Dr. Matthew Bolton, faculty advisor of Model United Nations. “In Model UN conferences, students get the chance to interact with other people from around the country and the world. In doing research, writing policy papers and giving speeches, they learn skills that are useful in a wide variety of careers and settings. Model UN can be an empowering experience for students because it offers a ‘toolbox’ of techniques for influencing political decision making processes. These skills are useful whether you are a diplomat at the UN, a parent at a PTA meeting, a resident at a Community Board meeting or involved in student governance.”

Elena Marmo, a sophomore majoring in Political Science with a minor in Peace and Justice Studies, said that MUN is both a course in which students can receive credit, and a club where students can simply observe class meetings.

Students are assigned partners, and can choose from two countries and various committees to represent. The head delegates make the ultimate decision as to which country and committee each student represents.

Michael Zona, senior, said that classes are held weekly on Mondays from 2:30 to 5:15. Kimberly Alonso, senior, says that each delegate has his or her own strengths in teaching the class, for instance, Zona assists students with three point plans, which are student’s solution to an issue discussed in committee, and Marmo assists with speeches.

“We work with Dr. Bolton to figure out what we are doing for class… we act as liaisons with the students and the professor, so if there is an issue with students, we report to Dr. Bolton. We also grade and edit the assignments and position papers,” says Marmo, “The classes are not taught solely by Dr. Bolton and are co-facilitated by the head delegates.”

“My experience with MUN has been nothing less than extraordinary,” said Abdul Khalil, a sophomore majoring in Political Science. “The people you meet, the languages you hear, the experiences you gain just by attending not only class but conferences is extraordinary…You also obtain so many friends both in class and internationally which is super cool.”

Abdul has attended three conferences, representing Tunisia, Colombia and now Uganda in the upcoming NMUN conference, “I have…benefited from MUN by furthering my aspirations to become a diplomat in the United Nations. The networking MUN has is way better and much more on a personal level.”

This will be the first MUN conference at the collegiate level for Lindita Capric, freshman, majoring in Political Science. Caprio said she joined MUN because, “I am really interested in Political Science, and I also did Model United Nations in high school and I wanted to see how it was done in college. I also want to work for the United Nations in the future and want to gain a better understanding on how the United Nations works.”

As a new member of the university’s MUN team, Caprio says that the first meeting was a bit intense, especially since the drafting of her position paper would have to start right away. She says that the process has been fun but hard. Representing Kenya in the General Assembly First Committee, she is looking forward to conference, and is ready to share her knowledge of her country, as well as embrace what she has learned in class and put it into practice.

Bushra Anwar, who is majoring in International Management, will also be participating in the upcoming MUN conference for the first time, will be representing Kenya in the General Assembly Second Committee. She joined Model UN as a club, because she wants “To learn more about international relations, policy making and diplomacy.” During her first few weeks on MUN, Anwar finds MUN to be a “challenging class, but so far it has been quite enriching.”

Head delegates Alonso and Zona encourages students of all majors to join Model United Nations. “If you never had great study habits, then MUN will teach you how to study, how to memorize, how to theorize and how to analyze from a different perspective,” Alonso said.

“No other class will provide you with the necessary skills to succeed in the professional world,” Zona stated, “Experiential education teaches more about real life than a term paper on a computer screen.”

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