By Gabrielle Peearanda
Cal Poly Pomona’s National Model United Nations team is hoping to maintain its momentum after its success at the Model UN Conference last March by finding the next batch of outstanding delegates.
Last year’s team traveled to New York City to represent Spain in a series of committee meetings and a model General Assembly.
The team returned with an Outstanding Delegation Award, three Position Paper Awards and two Outstanding Delegate Awards, according to Daniel Lewis, NMUN advisor.
According to fourth-year political science student Travis Barrett, last year’s team brought home the most awards in CPP history.
Currently, Lewis and the returning delegates are accepting applicants to help the team continue its exceptional performance at next year’s conference.
“We will be trying to maintain our level of achievement and rely on the returning students to help prepare those [who] are new to the program for the challenges that make being a part of the Model UN team so valuable,” said Lewis.
Carly Owens, a third-year communication student and one of two head delegates, said applicants with no experience are welcome to apply, but they should be willing to learn.
“We’re looking for people who are willing to work hard and be ready to dive into really heavy topics because talking about world poverty is not something to be taken lightly,” said Owens.
Delegates are also expected to master the list of 193 Member States of the UN along with their geographic location and capitals.
Months before each conference, NMUN teams from thousands of universities around the globe are each assigned a nation to represent at the conference.
Owens said she has represented Spain and the Philippines at the last two conferences. Initially, she knew almost nothing about her assigned countries.
“In order to fully understand [a country’s] position on the issues that you’re talking about, you have to do a lot of research into their culture but also their legislation,” said Owens.
Because UN delegates face issues such as education, environmental sustainability, and public health, NMUN delegates from diverse backgrounds will find they have something to contribute to a NMUN team.
“We’ve had engineers, biology majors [and] history majors: we’ve had it all,” said Owens.
The UN Association of the U.S. boasts many famous former MMUN delegates: actor Samuel L. Jackson, Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, and Rainn Wilson of “The Office.”
NMUN delegates develop skills applicable in their careers and in their personal development.
“Although delegates from our team dedicate a good deal of time to learn the organization’s process and writing position papers, many students are able to juggle a work schedule and normal class schedule at the same time,” said Barrett. “Model UN is a very worthy time commitment because the experience you receive along the way and in New York is absolutely invaluable.”
Owens is also grateful for her experience in NMUN as she learned “international and effective communication” during two conferences.
She recalled her first conference where she was “talking in circles” with a delegate from another country when she realized that a difference in connotation of words led to a misunderstanding.
Not only does Model UN prepare students for a career in international relations, the organization encourages students to think outside of their national perspective and consider the international effects of seemingly minute actions.
The United Nations is currently holding its annual General Assembly in New York City. Political leaders and officials are attempting to resolve problems that have relentlessly plagued global citizens.
One of the events held is the Sustainable Development Summit, where the UN introduced a list of 17 goals set for completion by 2030.
All of the outlined goals are aimed at alleviating what the UN considers the world’s three most urgent matters: extreme poverty, inequality and injustice, and climate change. On Sept. 25, all 193 Member States adopted the 17 Global Goals.
Some of the largest countries have committed to do their part in achieving the Global Goals. The UN stated on its website that China pledged billions in aid to education in developing countries and Brazil promised to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 37 percent by 2025.
Although she was impressed with the summit so far, Owens believes that good global citizens should remember that small actions have great effects. Being at CPP, where sustainable behavior is one of the university’s top priorities, has taught her that acts of humanity are worth any inconvenience.
“Don’t be afraid to speak up. If you’re talking about injustice, [it] won’t go away unless you’re wiling to speak up,” said Owens.
Aside from official General Assembly business and events like the Global Citizen Festival, the UN advocates for individual action to accomplish the Global Goals.
Courtesy of Carly Owens
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