CCNY’s Team Awarded at the National Model United Nations Conference

The City College delegation participated in the National Model United Nations (NMUN) Conference on March 22-26, 2015, representing Uruguay. The 18-member team received the Distinguished Delegation Award presented by the National Collegiate College Association (NCCA) in recognition of overall work in assigned committees.

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“City College students demonstrated their knowledge of the United Nations as well as their skills in diplomacy, public speaking, and negotiations” said Rafal Szczurowski, Adjunct Instructor at the CCNY International Studies Program and Faculty Advisor for the Model UN. “We have been preparing for two consecutive semesters and it clearly paid out, our delegation was among the most active, informed, and engaged across the multiple global issues tacked at the conference.”

NMUN/NYC is the largest and most prestigious conference of its kind attracting close to 5,000 delegates from six continents. In the spirit of experiential learning they spend a week in various committees, working on resolutions and treaties, negotiating, and engaging in debates. The overall experience is designed to mirror the work of the UN General Assembly (GA), its subcommittees, and UN specialized agencies. Students practice the art of multilateral diplomacy by focusing on issues pertinent to peacekeeping, regional conflicts, human rights, women and children, economic and social development, and the environment.

The CCNY delegation selected among students from INTL 31406 – Model United Nations course participated in 8 committees:  GA1 – Dalvin Delia and ByungEun “Jason” Park; GA2 – Natalie Shields and Taimoor Arif; GA3 – Iryna Oksaniuk and Leticia Marotti; C-34 – Rabia Sajid and Eliezer Ramos; Commission on Population and Development – Anasimon Waheb Takla and Sheyla Flores; Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference – Claire Lynch and Matthew Sunday; UNEP – Nelson Jarrin and Valeria Starobrzenski; and UN Women – Tracey Liriano and Sarah Mourssi. They were supported, trained and led by the two head delegates:  Rana Hassan and Zach Soliman and committee advisors: Lena Kheir, Maria Deaquis, and Esraa Saleh. According to Szczurowski, the support team was instrumental in achieving success at the conference. “They would make excellent diplomats and should be hired by the Department of State right away, without any exams,” he observed.

To prepare for the conference, some student started with the Research for Model UN course offered in the Fall 2014 semester. The class focused on the functioning and the role of international organizations providing background to more hands-on oriented Model UN course offered in the Spring of 2015. Its students were able to rehearse NMUN rules and procedures, participate in a smaller conference at Baruch College, and meet with Ambassadors from Latvia and Uruguay.

“Winning the Distinguished Delegation Award would not have been possible without the extra preparation available to students through Research for Model UN,” observed Szczurowski. He also commended the CCNY academic leadership and the IS Program for approving and funding the course. “Leading CCNY representation to the NMUN Conference had been a remarkable experience. I have been moved to tears by students’ dedication, perseverance, and deep humanity expressed during the event” said Szczurowski.

In his remarks at the NMUN closing ceremony on March 26, UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, recalled the horror of Korean War he witnessed as a child. He saw UN peacekeepers coming to the rescue and experienced the true meaning of international solidarity. Addressing the audience, he evoked the notion of global citizenship. Visibly moved students offered the Secretary General a standing ovation concluding the 2015 NMUN Conference.

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