• Brock Model UN competes on world stage

    Months of preparation resulted in two Distinguished Delegation Awards for the Brock Model United Nations (BMUN) when the student club competed in the annual National Model United Nations (NMUN) conference in New York City from March 24 to March 28. BMUN’s 37 team members represented two countries, Türkiye and Azerbaijan, in simulated UN committee sessions that discussed topics such as the relationship between disarmament and development, the eradication of poverty, emergency preparedness measures, and the protection of displaced and refugee children. The delegates were scored based on their representation of their country’s policies, intentions and relationships with other nations.

    The Distinguished Delegation Award is comparable to that of a silver medal, with only a handful of delegations receiving this distinction. Further, BMUN had a stellar performance by two delegates in the United Nations Environmental Assembly, Matthew Cancilla and Billy Nicholson, who received an award for their Position Paper on environmental sustainability in fashion industries and the implementation of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework.

    This year, the delegation at NMUN was made up mostly of new delegates, as 51% of delegates had not attended NMUN previously. The group worked diligently to prepare, and supported one another in the process. Both BMUN and NMUN serve as a strong opportunity for students to develop various skills, including public speaking, policy-writing, research and debate.


    Categories: Events, News

  • Brock Model UN gets global perspective in NYC

    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.

    Categories: Events, News

  • Political science students, profs connect at virtual coffeehouse

    Brock Political Science students are connecting with their professors in a brand new way this semester.

    The inaugural POLI 101 Coffeehouse series creates opportunites for students to chat informally with a professor in a specific area of political science about interests, pathways, pitfalls and advice.

    The series is the joint effort of fourth-year Political Science major and Student Ambassador Rebecca Van Massenhoven and third-year student representative Christian Santesso, who teamed up to organize the five-event series.

    Screenshot of multiple participants in a Microsoft Teams session.

    Students gathered at a POLI 101 Coffeehouse session on March 3 to chat with Associate Professor Livianna Tossutti in the Department of Political Science.

    “We wanted something interactive and welcoming that could break down the barrier between professor and student and show how a political science degree can be used to its best advantage,” says Santesso. “Professors could take a step back and instead of teaching, talk about their own personal experiences, what made them fall in love with their specific field and what different opportunities political science has brought them.”

    Van Massenhoven adds that upper-year students had expressed concerns about losing out on one-on-one time with professors during the pandemic, while newer students were feeling anxious about approaching professors in person during the transition back to campus.

    She and Santesso saw the virtual sessions as a way to create networks and help bridge two divides: between professor and student, and between virtual and in-person learning.

    The organizers spread the word about the sessions via the Department’s Instagram account, emails to students and a dedicated Microsoft Teams channel. As an added incentive, students who attend three or more sessions earn a LinkedIn badge that can be displayed on their profiles.

    Second-year Political Science representative Makenzie Tavares designed the badge.Fourth-year Political Science major and Student Ambassador Rebecca Van Massenhoven helped to organized the inaugural POLI 101 Coffeehouse series.

    “The badge represents the five areas of political science discussed in the POLI 101 sessions: policy and administration, theory, international relations, comparative, and Canadian studies,” Tavares says.

    Student response to the sessions has been overwhelmingly positive, with attendees turning up from all levels of study and even outside of the department.

    “Feedback shows that students are excited to take full advantage of this opportunity,” says Santesso. “They are no longer nervous to seek advice from their professors, which builds important connections they can use in the future, all while expanding their knowledge of the fields of political science.”

    Van Massenhoven says that professors have also expressed a great deal of support and enthusiasm for the endeavour.

    “The professors say they’re happy to meet individually with students or answer emailed questions to continue these conversations,” says Van Massenhoven. “That support coming from both sides, both from the professors and from the students, really shows that these sessions are very much what students are looking for, and they’re how professors are looking to support their students as well.”

    Associate Professor Livianna Tossutti recently took part in the POLI 101 Coffeehouse. She says she wishes that she would have had a similar opportunity to connect with her professors as an undergraduate.

    “I had a blast because I got to know the students on a more personal level, learning about their career interests, what they’re thinking about and what their worries are,” says Tossutti. “I enjoyed being able to connect with them on a deeper level and having a casual opportunity to let down our guard and relate as human beings, with some lightness and humour.”

    “Christian and I are thankful for the amount of commitment that both the professors and students have shown in attending these sessions,” says Van Massenhoven. “Burnout is a little bit higher right now for everyone, so we’re thankful that people are taking the time to come and sit with us. Their response overall has been something that we really appreciate.”Tossutti also says hearing directly from students in this way about their plans and the skills and knowledge they need to attain their objectives helps her reflect on how she might support those goals in her courses.

    Dean Ingrid Makus of the Faculty of Social Sciences calls it “thrilling to see the success of this innovative project driven by students.”

    “It’s an impressive realization of our vision for the student ambassador program, which was supported by the Dean’s Discretionary Fund to both professionalize and engage students,” she says.

    The next session takes place on Thursday, March 31 from 3 to 4 p.m., when Associate Professor and Chair of Political Science Tim Heinmiller will talk about the field of policy. Register online to attend.


    Categories: Events, News

  • Dec. 3 – Survival Governance in a Hotter World: Can China Lead?

    The Department of Political Science presents

    Survival Governance in a Hotter World: Can China Lead?

    A talk with Professor Peter Drahos on his provocative and necessary new book, Survival Governance: Energy and Climate Change in the Chinese Century (OUP, 2021).

    December 3 from 2-3 p.m. via Zoom

    Information poster and link to register here.

    Categories: Events, News

  • Crossing Borders Conference – Best Paper Award

    The Crossing Borders Conference was held at Niagara University on Saturday, March 27. Congratulations to Matt Beard who was recognized with the best paper award at the conference.

    Beard took part in a panel on Citizenship and Immigration in Canada and the U.S., moderated by Ibrahim Berrada, Niagara University/Brock University Therese Purcell (University at Buffalo, State University of New York).

    Below is his abstract:

    Citizens and Market Men: Civic Unity in the Twenty-first Century 

    The roles of populism and polarization in liberal democracies are often discussed in the literature, but a deeper question is less frequently asked— what is citizenship? And how do competing conceptions of it influence political life? This article examines two philosophical ideals of citizenship and uses them to evaluate civic unity in The United States and Canada. In the first conception of citizenship, human beings are political animals who become citizens by transcending the private realm and deliberating about the common good in public. In the second conception, human beings are a bundle of passions who become citizens by securing equality under the law and the right to private autonomous lives. While both strands of citizenship are necessary, this essay argues that the health of liberal democracies depends on a reinvigoration of that first Aristotelian conception of citizenship. For decades, an individualistic and market-based view has turned the “citizen” into a taxpayer and consumer. This essay will examine how civic republican thought aimed at the common good presents a viable alternative.

    Categories: Events, News

  • Panel discussion: Canada and the 2020 US election, Thurs., Oct. 22, 12-1 pm

    The US election on November 3 is shaping up to be an event of historic importance, with potentially far-reaching consequences for the US, Canada and the world.

    The Brock University Department of Political Science invites you to join us for an online discussion and Q&A session of the possible implications of the US elections. Our panel:

    Prof. Leah Bradshaw, Brock University
    Associate Prof. Charles Conteh, Brock University
    Assistant Prof. Will Greaves, University of Victoria
    Associate Prof. Blayne Haggart (moderator)

    For a link to the event, or for further information, please email

    The Brock University Political Science
    Department presents Canada and the 2020 U.S. Election, October 22, 12 pm-1 pm

    Categories: Events

  • March 12: Private Guilt, Public Realm: The Politics of Past, Present and Future Guilt

    Categories: Events

  • Nov. 21: Panel on Civic Identity in Liberal Democracy

    Categories: Events

  • Oct. 23 – Unpacking the 2019 Federal Election: What Happened, Why and the Future

    Join us for a panel discussion with experts from Brock University – Tamari Kitossa, Associate Professor, Sociology; David Siegel, Professor Emeritus, Political Science and Livianna Tossutti, Associate Professor, Political Science – on the outcome of the federal election and its implications for the Niagara region and the country.

    Seating is limited. Click on the poster link below to RSVP by phone or online.

    Unpacking the 2019 Federal Election

    Categories: Events

  • Oct. 16 – The 2019 Federal Election Preview

    Join us for a wide-ranging panel discussion with experts in politics and policy on October 16 at 7:00 p.m. in the Mills Room of the St. Catharines Public Library.

    Seating is limited. Please RSVP in person at the Library, by phone or online via Eventbrite. Number and link in poster below.

    The 2019 federal election preview

    Categories: Events