CSUSM Model United Nations makes impact in national conference

CSUSM Model United Nations makes impact in national conference

Jasmine Demers, News Editor


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The CSUSM Model United Nations (MUN) Team recently participated in an international conference where they were recognized for their tremendous hard work and commitment to academic competition.

On March 20 through 27, the school’s Model UN team traveled to New York City in order to participate in a conference where they took home a total of 6 awards, including the top achievement of Outstanding Delegation.

Model UN Faculty Advisor, Dr. Dino Bozonelos, has over 15 years experience in coaching Model UN and said that he has been extremely impressed with the performance of the CSUSM team.

Model UN is an educational simulation where students are asked to become ambassadors for specific countries around the world. They research international issues, learn about conflict resolution, formulate negotiating positions and further develop public speaking and interpersonal communication skills in order to get their nations’ agenda passed.

“Students are asked to practice creating international law. They are asked to research the country that they are going to represent and also research international issues. So, they are essentially diplomats who are representing a country,” Dr. Bozonelos said.

Samuel Ramtin, CSUSM student and Model UN member, also commented on the details of this academic competition and highlighted the hard work that it takes to complete these tasks.

“Model United Nations, both the class and club on campus, has students study and represent a country in the various United Nations committees and address a topic(s) for those committees by working with other ‘countries’/delegations/delegates to create a resolution, or paper, on how best to address the topic(s),” Ramtin said. “This entails countless hours of research and preparation, intense negotiation and diplomacy and being able to work with diverse and new groups.”

The Model UN team at CSUSM started just three semesters ago in the Spring of 2014, and they have since been internationally recognized at over 10 competitive conferences against other teams from around the world. This was no different at the New York conference where they received top honors while representing the nation of Kyrgyzstan.

“The conference in NYC was amazing. We pulled together as a team and endured 18 hour plus days of academic competition for 5 days in a row. There were more than 5,000 students attending from more than 67 different countries and we took home the top award of Outstanding Delegation,” said Craig Lavrenz, Model UN team President. “We started our preparation almost 4 months ago with a grueling schedule of 9 hours per week of intense research and negotiation prep.”

The Outstanding Delegation award was given to the teams that perform at the highest level in each committee. The team also won 2 position paper awards, where students were tasked with writing a paper, prior to the competition, which discussed their nations stance, and also 3 Committee awards, which were voted on by other committees based on performance and level of diplomacy.

“This is unheard of for a first-year team traveling to NYC. CSUSM MUN has a tradition of excellency and we have shown that by not only placing at the best level in Washington DC last year, but now NYC this year as well,” Lavrenz said.

Dr. Bozonelos and the Model UN team attribute much of their success and being able to attend the conference to campus entities such as the Dean of Students Office, which has provided an invaluable amount of support and was able to assist in funding their trip to New York. Team President, Craig Lavrenz, was also able to help the team by providing financial assistance through his own personal fundraising.

“The CSUSM MUN team received the opportunity to travel to New York through the tireless efforts of our team members, club officers and faculty advisor. We applied to attend this conference last semester and after winning Outstanding Delegation at the NMUN Conference in D.C, we were excited to take our newly recognized and growing team to higher levels of competition,” Ramtin said. “By working hard to fundraise, particularly the work done in this area by our club president, Craig Lavrenz, we were able to make this ambition a reality.”

Model UN at CSUSM consists of a class, a club and a competitive team. This dynamic hybrid allows for students to participate in international politics in an educational setting, while also having the opportunity to apply for a spot on the competing team. Dr. Bozonelos encourages all students to get involved in this program.

“The first thing that we would ask them to do is make sure that they enroll in the class in the fall and also to reach out to myself or to club officers. The club allows us to support the team and create a great partnership,” Dr. Bozonelos said.

According to Lavrenz, the CSUSM Model UN team is ranked in the top 15 throughout the world. Through these experiences, they have been able to develop a true passion for making a positive impact on the world and for creating a legacy at CSUSM.