CI Model UN Students Wipe the Floor with Seattle Competition

CI Model UN Students Wipe the Floor with Seattle Competition

By Andreas Garza

Going down the list of things this melting pot of a city is known for, you might get towards the end when you find out it hosts Universities from Washington to California, and even Canada, for something called Model UN. CI’s Model UN class traveled to Seattle and took home top honors as well as six more awards. 

The CSUCI Model UN team celebrates. Photo courtesy of Andrea Garza

The definition I have used to describe the experience is, frankly, cosplaying as another country. The United Nations as of Jan. 19, 2024 holds 193 nations, and in Model UN it is not uncommon to have this number of participating students representing, in a simulated United Nations meeting, whichever state assigned to them, big or small. Students before the annual conference spend countless hours of research and preparation both in and out of class for this event, studying their assigned nations voting records, culture, current events, legislation, power structure, beliefs and biases, and even their nations shortcomings within the international community.  

Using this knowledge gained over research, students then act accordingly in their nation’s best hypothetical interests using diplomacy and resolution writing in attempts of collaboration with their fellow nations to address topics assigned to their committee. For example, the General Assembly had to tackle two topics during the fall 2023 conference: The Implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity and The Right to Development. 

After gathering an abundance of knowledge in class, the class took a leisurely two-hour flight and just to leave their competition in Seattle quaking in their boots. Political Science Lecturers Chris Scholl and Andrea Grove, walked away triumphantly with their students as well as four “Distinguished Delegate” awards and the conference’s top award, “Outstanding Delegation.” Two more awards were won for student’s outstanding writing for “Position Paper” in the General Assembly and the research paper awards for representing France in the World Health Assembly. 

“Model U.N. Is the best way to understand how international politics works in the real world” states Raul Zamarron, 4th year Political Science Major who represented the country Jordan at the conference. “Although we are all fellow students from individual universities arguing or supporting topics, it is very realistic in the sense that each student must do their best to portray the interest of the nation they are delegating for. Some might see this as boring since we are sitting in a conference room most of the time, however things do get better when we all go into our separate groups to discuss the matter at hand. If someone is looking to experience real world politics along with putting themselves out there with strangers and making new friends, then this class is for you. Model U.N. Is the closest you will get to feeling incredibly happy while wanting to attend a class.” 

When asked about her time in Seattle, Kylie Keagy, 4th year Business major who represented South Africa talks about the quick yet collaborative environment: “It was a fast paced, hands-on experience that taught me real world lessons and skills. Whether it was discussing our perspective on global issues, forming coalitions, or working collaboratively to draft resolutions, I was always learning something new. My time in Seattle pushed my critical thinking skills to new limits, I learned how to effectively delegate responsibilities and assert myself as a delegate, and throughout it all, I challenged and improved my interpersonal communications skills”. 

This semester, the Model UN class is heading to New York to represent Ghana, and after winning best delegation at the Seattle conference, students are as confident as they are now experienced.  

Model UN is a 3-unit class available via application as POLS- 427 and the brainchild of professors Christopher Scholl and Andrea Grove. After my time at the Seattle conference, I feel closer to my peers, more confident in my public speaking ability, more confident my ability to mediate and negotiate, as well as my ability to understand international politics, and my understanding of why grunge sounds the way it does. The Model UN community here on campus is encouraging, accepting, intelligent, and most of all: full of amazing people. I strongly encourage anyone interested in politics, law, international relations, or just looking for an extremely tangible learning experience to apply for Model UN. Plus, hey, maybe you will earn the Garza award for the least amount of attendances.