NSU Model UN team competed at regional conference
NSU has participated since 2012
From March 28-30, NSU’s Model UN team competed at the Southern Regional Model United Nations (SRMUN) conference in Charlotte.
“It’s one of the biggest regional conferences,” said Assistant Professor G. Nelson Bass, Ph.D./J.D., of the Department of History and Political Science.
The eight members of the NSU team included Celina Mahabir, Genesis Alvarez, Varsha Gopaulchan, Kayre Alcantara Martinez, Emily Gilman, Melanie Nguyen, Janay Joseph, and Jasmine Knight. Each team was assigned to represent a country in the UN General Assembly, with the NSU team dividing in two to represent the Russian Federation and the Czech Republic. The teams are assigned issues and must submit position papers on those issues in advance of the conference. The topics for the General Assembly Plenary included the “Challenges of Eliminating Forced Labor” and “Improving Access to Quality Healthcare for Children.”
Bass said a team’s success was judged by the quality of their position papers, as well as making speeches and passing resolutions on the issues while staying “in character” for their assigned country, which can be difficult depending on the topic.
“Some countries use a lot of forced labor, so it’s not approaching it from what’s the right thing to do, but what would this country do,” he said.
The students researched government speeches to understand the language of Russian diplomacy. The NSU team also had a large role to play since Russia is a permanent member of the UN Security Council and has veto power over resolutions. Multiple resolutions were passed by the end of the conference, and students were scored on their performance and received awards. The NSU team received three awards total, including a distinguished delegation award for Russia, and individual awards for most outstanding delegate and most improved delegate.
Bass said this year’s Model UN team was a mix of new and returning students. Passion for the Model UN can continue even after graduation - Secretary-General Desiree Kennedy and General Assembly Plenary Director Vanessa DuBoulay are both graduates of NSU’s Political Science program.
“Students give up their time for it because they love it,” Bass said.
With SRMUN over, Bass said the next task for the team is to prepare for the annual High School Model UN conference, in which South Florida high schools are invited to NSU’s Fort Lauderdale/Davie Campus for a daylong competition.