Months of preparation paid off for Brock Model United Nations (BMUN) recently when the student club competed in the annual National Model United Nations (NMUN) conference in New York City.
BMUN’s 44 delegates represented two countries, Luxembourg and the United States, in a simulated meeting of the UN held April 2 to 6 with thousands of other post-secondary students from around the world. During the four-day conference, delegates discussed global issues and negotiated resolutions related to 16 simulated UN committees, such as the Human Rights Council and Security Council.
While it was the first time many BMUN members had competed internationally, the group upheld its record of strong performances at the international event. Brock’s Luxembourg delegation placed among the top 10 per cent of schools at the conference, earning a Distinguished Delegation Award. The U.S. delegation earned an Honourable Mention Award for placing in the top 25 per cent of schools.
“Seeing our delegates flourish just as real diplomats would in their simulated committees was rewarding,” says Tara Shivafard, third-year Political Science student and Co-Secretary General of BMUN. “BMUN is full of future world leaders and thinkers, and I am delighted to see what our delegation will achieve in the future with their NMUN experience.”
BMUN members worked towards NMUN throughout the academic year, researching their assigned countries and developing the skills they’ll need to compete at the conference.
“NMUN is an incredible experience, as it allows our delegates to develop skills in so many areas,” says BMUN Co-Secretary General Lauren Araujo, a third-year Political Science and English student. “They begin preparation for the conference with thorough research and review of their country’s policy. At the conference, they engage in public speaking, debate, collaboration and writing skills.”
Araujo has taken part in NMUN since starting at Brock and says she learns something new from the experience every year.
The skills developed by BMUN members reflect those needed in real-world political environments, says Blayne Haggart, BMUN’s faculty advisor and Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science.
“Through model UN, students learn about how politics works. And not just politics, but constructive politics,” he says. “They also learn about the world around them and how to work with people who have different views and objectives from their own.”
Developing intercultural fluency skills by working with students from around the world, who are often interested in similar fields, is one of the benefits of participating in NMUN, say Araujo and Shivafard.
Haggart credits BMUN’s leadership team and the dedication of its members for the group’s impressive record of success at NMUN. He says that Brock’s team is unusual among post-secondary model UN teams in being entirely organized and run by students.
“The whole team is absolutely remarkable. They prepare themselves so well for this, and then they get down there and shine,” he says. “I would put them against any students in the world. They’re capable, they’re engaged, they’re smart and they’re up for interesting challenges.”
BMUN was able to attend the conference this year through member fundraising as well funding from the Faculty of Social Sciences and Brock University Students’ Union.