The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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CSUN’s Model United Nations team wins Outstanding Delegation Award at New York conference

Brenda Larin
Members of the Model United Nations program of CSUN celebrate their last meeting in Sierra Hall on Friday, May 3, 2024.

California State University, Northridge’s Model United Nations won first place at the Model United Nations conference in New York, earning the Outstanding Delegation Award as Guinea Bissau and Honorable Mention as Angola.

Among the highlights, CSUN students Angel Marquez and Ivan Nathan were honored with the Best Delegate award, while Brett Zarris and Leslie Ponce received recognition for Best Paper.

Approximately 20% of delegations receive the Outstanding Delegation Award, and CSUN receiving this award marks an immense accomplishment for the campus.

Allison Walker, the head delegate of Model United Nations at CSUN and Associated Students Chair of Diversity and Inclusion, noted that seeing everyone go from step 0 to step 100 was an incredible experience.

“The fact that I led this team to victory was just so exciting,” Walker said.

The Model United Nations Conference is an intercollegiate conference that provides a unique opportunity for individuals to assume the role of diplomats and engage in diplomatic negotiations. Students participate in realistic UN simulations and create proposals to address global challenges.

Walker said leading the Model UN was a stressful experience as it required effective time management and coordination for one’s own tasks and the entire class’s collective work.

The United Nations program at CSUN is a class offered through the Political Science Department and is open to all students interested in the program. Participants of the Model United Nations interact with colleagues from various corners of the globe, gain insights into diverse cultures and viewpoints, all while cultivating leadership skills to become an effective international leader.

CSUN last won the Outstanding Delegation Award in 2021 during the COVID-19 pandemic, when the conference took place over Zoom.

Ponce, an economics major and finance minor, and Zarris, a professional accountancy major, both won an Individual Award for Best Paper.

“I was really proud to win a position paper award, especially at a New York conference with a committee of hundreds of people,” Ponce said. “My partner and I spent hours researching, writing, crafting solutions, and refining our paper, and it was amazing to be recognized for that work.”

Ponce mentioned that she was not very good at expressing herself through her writing abilities, but the class honed her skills and made her realize that she enjoyed researching and writing.

“I felt proud and honored to have contributed to our team’s victory as I witnessed our team’s dedication,” Ponce said. “I was ecstatic and surprised to have won first place.”

Zarris acknowledged that he had to learn from his previous mistakes, as he didn’t know how the Model United Nations worked last semester and was not allowed to take the lead.

“Just know who you are,” Zarris said. “I made mental notes and implemented them into my routines and eventually I found my rhythm and now I know who I am.”

The Model UN is evaluated by its active engagement within committees, professional and diplomatic values, as well as inclusivity, respectability, and proper application of the rules of procedure.

According to Nathan, a senior majoring in political science, this was his first time participating and winning with fellow teammate Marquez, but it still made for a fulfilling experience, especially as someone who enjoys the social aspect of the Model UN.

“Many delegates recognized that I represented the Republic of Angola, and they’ll tell me, ‘Angola, we are going to vote for you on delegation because we just like you.’ That’s why I wasn’t entirely surprised when we won,” Nathan said.

Dr. Jennifer De Maio, a professor in CSUN’s Political Science Department, mentioned that graduate students say the skills they learned in Model UN have helped them acquire real jobs.

The next Model UN conference will be held in DC in November 2024.

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