Peace and Justice For All
Political Science student and Model UN Head Delegate Elena Marmo ’15 explores Peace and Justice Studies around the world and at Pace.
Elena Marmo ’15 originally applied to Pace intending to study musical theater management, but found herself drawn to political science instead. Now a Head Delegate for Pace’s Model United Nations team, Marmo’s interest in international relations and humanitarianism continues to grow as she helps create a Peace and Justice Studies major.
Inspired by her high school Model Congress experience, Marmo dove head-first into international relations at Pace by joining the Model UN team during her first semester. She is now a Head Delegate for the team and acts as a mentor and teaching assistant to faculty adviser Matthew Bolton, PhD, giving lectures, helping edit position papers, and providing support to her teammates. Marmo says her involvement so far has “been both a practical experience and a good way to get me out of my comfort zone,” as she hopes to teach at the college level down the line.
While she has won a few Model UN awards at conferences—including Outstanding Delegation and Special Mention—receiving the Most Diplomatic award at the 2013 University for Peace Model United Nations Conference in Costa Rica was the most special for her. “It spoke to me the most because diplomacy is something that I think is important,” she says. “But, for me, Model UN is about learning before it is about [competition], because obviously there’s competition and awards, but the learning is what’s most important.”
She says the conference in Costa Rica was by far her favorite of all the conferences she’s attended—beating out conferences in Washington, DC, Geneva, and Pennsylvania—because of the learning opportunities. Marmo and the team participated in a human rights workshop with graduate students and professors from all over the world, offering her the chance to study and discuss real-world issues with global perspectives.
Humanitarianism and international relations are topics that Marmo found herself drawn to after taking Reconciliation and Justice in Post-Conflict Societies freshman year. Since then, she has taken every Peace and Justice Studies class Pace offers and has immersed herself in a plethora of projects, including founding the Peace and Justice Student Association and Amnesty International at Pace; doing an Undergraduate Research Project with Peace and Justice Studies Program Director Emily Welty, PhD, to study alternative spring breaks and the ethics of short-term voluntourism; and a handful of leadership jobs and internships, including being a Residential Adviser and a Peer Leader. Recently she has been helping Welty with the creation of a Peace and Justice Studies major, which she will double major in once it is available in the fall of 2014.
“I wouldn’t be involved in so much if I didn’t love the school; I think it’s so amazing how much we’re able to offer students at our University,” she says, attributing many of the opportunities she’s had so far to her professors. In the future, Marmo hopes to follow their lead and become a professor herself, engaged in the classroom and in her field of study.
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