Friday, May 01, 2009

Students receive honors at Model United Nations conference

A class of 12 students from UIS attended the annual National Model United Nations conference, held April 7 through April 11 in New York City, and was honored with the Distinguished Delegation Award for their efforts at the conference.

Model United Nations is a conference that simulates an actual United Nations meeting. More than 300 groups of students from schools internationally attended the conference, each representing a specific country. The group from UIS was chosen to represent Croatia.

This is the first year that a course was designed specifically to learn about and attend the conference, said Adriana Crocker, professor of political science and teacher of the class. In past years, a group of students from the UIS Model United Nations Club attended the conference.

“I felt like the students were much better prepared,” Crocker said. “In class, we discussed Croatia, its history, culture, relations with other neighboring countries, and we also studied how the UN works.”

Each of the students served on various committees during the conference. Students defended the committee they wanted to serve on in class and were placed on those committees by their arguments and interests. Some students served in groups of two on larger committees, while other students represented Croatia by themselves on smaller committees.

“One of the most interesting challenges, I thought, was that you have to throw your own personal ideas aside and have to portray and represent Croatia, even if it’s not what you believe personally is best,” said Dustin Morrison, who represented Croatia on the World Trade Organization committee along with classmate Marko Markovic.

In addition to the group’s Distinguished Delegation honor, several UIS students also received individual awards at the conference. Kelsey Quinn received the Best Delegate Award from among more than 400 delegates. Priyanka Deo was honored with the Best Chair Award for her role in serving as chairman of the General Assembly. Deo served as chair for more than 450 delegates.

“I really got to know the rules and procedures,” she said. “I was aware of Croatia’s viewpoints because we had studied them in class and discussed them before the conference, but it was interesting to see all of the other countries’ viewpoints on issues. It was a really fun experience.”

Both Deo and Quinn have been invited to attend a conference in Switzerland this summer based on their exemplary efforts at Model United Nations.

“I have to congratulate our students; it was quite an accomplishment to receive those awards and honors,” Crocker said. “It was a great experience for our students. They got to learn about foreign policy and diplomacy and also got to hear from and learn about different students from across the world.”