Pace University students awarded most distinguished delegation for representing the Russian Federation at the 2017 Southern Regional Model United Nations (SRMUN) in Charlotte, North Carolina

On April 2, 2017, the Pace University Pleasantville Model United Nations (MUN) team returned home from Charlotte, North Carolina. An entire semester of preparation and three days of intense diplomacy at the conference has yielded outstanding results for the team.  The team was tasked with representing Ecuador, Eritrea, and the Russian Federation. For their efforts, the team was awarded Outstanding Position Paper awards for each of the three countries they represented. In addition, the students representing the Russian Federation were awarded Most Distinguished Delegation.

Along with the awards the team received, many students were bestowed with awards for their singular efforts on their respective committees. Peter Baghdadline and Alex Alessandro won Outstanding Delegates for their work in the Commission on Science Technology and Development and Cecilia Barmoen won Outstanding Delegate in the Security Council. In addition, Aidan Rivera was awarded the most improved delegate award on his committee, the United Nations Children’s Fund.

Over the course of three days and nights at the conference, these Pace students and their colleagues worked with other delegations to write resolutions. Modeled after the resolutions that the actual United Nations drafts, resolutions establish plans of action to combat problems that plague the global community. The resolution writing process is often contentious, with students vying to be a resolutions lead author. This is where our students’ negotiating skills really shine: trading issues, making compromises, and trying not to give up too many concessions on the way to a resolution that enjoys broad support in committee.

MUN helps students uniquely hone valuable skills

Model United Nations is an intercollegiate competition that pits students against one another, testing their diplomacy, cooperation, and writing skills. At the beginning of each semester of MUN students are assigned a country along with a set of issues that they must work towards resolving. The catch is that they must do this through the lens of their assigned countries foreign policy - a task that can often be difficult. Awards are given to schools that most accurately portray their assigned countries’ foreign policy, uphold the standards of international diplomacy, and cooperate with other delegations to move debate forward and reach consensus on problems. With 192 member-states in the United Nations system being represented at MUN conferences, it is always an honor to be counted as one of the country’s most premier MUN programs - an honor that Pace has earned with its award- winning history.

The coming collegiate year will also see a transition in the student leadership of the Model UN team on the Pleasantville campus. As the spring semester ends and graduation nears, frequently the MUN team must say goodbye to graduating senior student leaders. Unique to MUN is that students learn as much from peers as they do from their faculty advisor. Chief among peer leaders on the team are the MUN executive board members, e-board for short. For most students, MUN is a wonderful college experience, for others it becomes a way of life. These lifers usually find themselves serving on the team’s e-board. Participation in e-board means steering the team, taking on additional roles, and taking on active leadership roles. E-board members generally serve the length of time they participate in MUN, once on the e-board they remain on it for the tenure of their participation. Participation in e-board is open to any student who feels she or he has the time and dedication to foster their peers and guide the team. The one exception is the president of the e-board. Presidents are selected by the faculty advisor. Presidents are selected for their evident dedication, knowledge, and passion. One need not be the best MUN delegate to become president, but one must be seriously passionate.

Membership in the MUN e-board is a wonderful way to develop professional skills. Students who have participated on the e-board have expressed that the experience has honed the skills necessary for moving on to internships and professional positions. Recently, past e-board members/alumni have obtained internships at the International Criminal Court for the Former Yugoslavia at the Hague, The United Nations Development Program, Peace Boat International, and the United Nations Secretariat at UN headquarters in New York, to name but a few. Every e-board is different, but the one constant is the success that follows students’ participation in MUN.

Looking ahead

Now that the spring 2017 semester is on the books and SRMUN Charlotte is over, Pace University’s Pleasantville MUN team is already looking forward to the year ahead. That includes travel to Atlanta, Georgia, in the fall for SRMUN’s fall semester conference, where students will be representing South Africa and Slovenia. After a one-year hiatus from the National Model United Nations Conference, we are also very excited to be returning to what is probably the world’s premier MUN conference. In the spring 2018 semester, Pace will once again attend the National MUN NYC, a conference that brings the participation of more than 3,000 students from around the globe. We hope to once again bring home top honors from this competitive conference.