The CSUN Model United Nations team continued their winning streak at the American Pacific Conference in Anaheim on April 13. During the three-day competition, the CSUN representatives took home nine out of 25 awards, marking 36 wins for the team in this academic year.
“The awards represent the fun we had and experience we gained from conference,” said Patricia Ford, who also won an outstanding delegation and research award for representing Belgium in the Security Council. “Awards are nice and they encourage us, but ultimately, the experience was more valuable.”
Individual winners of the competition included Giovanni Batz, Dan Monteleone, Romi Said, David Simonson, Patricia Ford, Gabriel Perez and Stephanie Stricklin.
Monteleone, Ford and Stricklin won an outstanding delegation award representing Belgium in corresponding committees, making them the best delegation in the conference. The other members were Karen Roseberry, Dadie Loh, Alvin Durham, Angela Ruiz and Tiffany Lane.
Participation in MUN requires enrollment in Political Science 427, a research intensive class that involves preparing for conferences Instead of traditional lectures, students practice writing and presenting speeches and simulate upcoming conferences in class.
Many of the delegates who participated in the conference were first time MUN students and were able to use their honed skills at the Anaheim competition.
“It’s a lot of hard work and dedication, but it definitely pays off in the end,” stated Said, a political science major who won a distinguished delegate award representing Iraq in the Economic and Social Council.
Earlier this semester, the MUN team won outstanding delegation for representing Afghanistan in a national and international competition in New York City.
The class is set up so that professor Peter Kappas doesn’t lecture; instead, returning students help the first timers prepare for an upcoming competition.
“They are all helpful because each have their own strength, so every question that I had, one of them was able to answer it,” remarked Said of the MUN veterans.
Batz and Roseberry, two of the winning members of the New York delegation, also participated in the Anaheim conference.
“I thought that it wouldn’t hurt if there was somebody there that (they) could bounce (their) ideas off of, give them a little encouragement, calm them down a little bit and let them know that they could totally do this and they are well prepared,” said Roseberry, a political science graduate student who has been in MUN for three semesters.
Gabriel Perez, a fourth-year political science major, said Roseberry and Batz encouraged and motivated him when he was called out of his hotel room at 1 a.m. for a crisis simulation.
Perez said he was switched from representing the Czech Republic in the Economic and Social Council to Russia in Security Council committee.
“I went from having no power to having complete power,” Perez said. He said he felt “vulnerable” and “naked” at first because he was out of place, but in the 24 hours before he met with the committee again, he used the skills learned in Kappas’ class to prepare new ideas and educated himself on Russia. He won a research award for the original committee.
“It was pretty awesome. I don’t know if that happens very often,” said Perez. He added that his is a perfect example of the importance of research and preparedness before a conference in order to be ready for whatever comes their way.
The student delegates agree that a lot of that comes with Kappas’ help.
“I think the best thing that Dr. Kappas does is that he requires your best and he knows when you can get it,” said Roseberry. “He’s not going to expect anything less than that.”
Said noted that while Kappas might seem a little intimidating, his help is crucial and effective.
“He’s really tough on us, tough love basically. He scrutinizes our papers until they’re perfect and that’s what needs to happen. That’s what he needs to do to make sure we are the best, and that’s why we are the best,” she said.
Kappas is just one reason why students decide to return for more MUN after their first semester or year.
Although Said is graduating this semester, she is returning to take the MUN class.
“It just opens your eyes to what the world really is.” she said.