The National Model U.N. Team won an Outstanding Delegation Award at the annual national conference in New York, and two students won honors for their work on a position paper. The team award represents the best performance by Cal Poly Pomona students in the conference since 2008.
The team played the role of the Philippines during the conference, which simulates committee sessions, debate, and diplomatic negotiations that occur at the United Nations. The conference educates students about international relations and diplomacy. Nearly 200 universities and colleges participated, each representing different member nations.
Team members prepared for the conference by researching the Philippines’ position on various issues. At the conference, they served on committees and introduced resolutions reflecting those positions.
“Once a resolution was completed, they had to negotiate and convince others to vote for their draft resolution for it to pass,” says Rana Abuershaid, a fourth-year political science student who was one of the team’s head delegates. “There’s so much more work that happens before and during the conference, such as practicing speeches and creating motions and resolutions.”
Among the issues the committees worked on were conflict resolution; arms control; the environment; development; and the rights of women, refugees and displaced people.
Along with fellow head delegate Salvatore Palomino, Abuershaid helped the team prepare for the April 13-17 conference. She also chaired a committee.
“This was a huge moment for me, because I remember the first conference I attended as a sophomore. I was so nervous to begin the conference and even more nervous having to talk to people that I didn’t even know,” she says. “Taking this position [as committee chair] allowed me to see how far I have come and how much this program has allowed me to grow. It gave me the confidence, leadership skills and organizational skills necessary to chair a committee of over 200 people.”
Trained volunteers evaluated how accurately each delegation reflected its country’s diplomatic style, how it participated in committee, and how well it used its rules of procedure.
Recent teams had earned Distinguished Delegation Awards, which created high expectations for this year’s team. But the team exceeded those expectations by becoming one of 27 chosen as an outstanding delegation, the highest honor given at the conference.
“It made me so proud to say that I was part of this team, and I couldn’t be more proud of the delegates on our team,” Abuershaid says. “They put in so much work and effort for us to attain this recognition.”
In addition, students Stephanie Baeza and Melissa Petersen earned an Outstanding Position Paper Award for writing, “The Issues before the General Assembly Fourth Committee are: Civilian Capacity in the Aftermath of Conflict; Strengthening the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Near East; and Strengthening the United Nations Police.”
In addition to Abuershaid, Palomino, Baeza and Petersen, the team included Ryan Bauer; Lauren Bissada; Bryce Brady; Daniel Castillo; Bandelio Jovan Delgado-Sala; Kaleab Habtermariam; Christina Kazoura; Lisa LaFave; Christopher Lunardi; Carly Jo Owens; Aisha Razzak; and Maria Victoria Sarmiento. The team’s advisor was Daniel Lewis, a history professor and associate dean for academic programs in the College of Letters, Arts & Social Sciences.
The students also got to visit the United Nations headquarters, Brooklyn Bridge and the National 9/11 Memorial at Ground Zero.