Model UN team receives awards

Stephanie Bermudez

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CSUN’s Model United Nations team walked away with the Outstanding Delegation and Outstanding Research award for representing Singapore at the National Model United Nations conference held at the UN Headquarters in New York City.

Both awards are equivalent to first place.

“CSUN tends to perform very well at these conferences, usually winning many more awards than any other school in proportion to our representation,” said Taina Vargas, one of the head delegates. “Additionally, two of our six pairs of delegates earned committee peer awards as well,” she added.

 The conference was from March 28 to April 3 and the win was announced April 3 at the closing ceremony, which was held inside the U.N.

“Our entire team was simply ecstatic, in part because we realized the competitiveness of the conference and were excited to be recognized and partly because we were glad to be finished  after preparing for the conference for more than three months,” Vargas said.

Vargas, who has been part of CSUN’s Model U.N. team for four semesters, along with her co-Head Delegate Eduardo Lagunas, were both named head delegates last fall.

“I felt so proud of everyone since I knew how hard we all worked being in committee for up to 14 hours a day and staying in committee late and arriving early,” Vargas said. “I was just glad to see that all of the prep and hard work paid off.”

“The credit for our success goes to Taina and Eduardo,” said Peter Kappas, advisor of Model United Nations. “They taught the students everything they needed to know to excel at this conference. That included MUN rules and procedures, position paper writing, resolution writing and public speaking and negotiation skills.”

The students lived up to the very high expectations I have of them, Kappas added.

Vargas said Model U.N. essentially is a research-intensive course where students write position papers from the viewpoint of an assigned country in preparation for the various conferences they attend.

“The conferences are simulations of the actual United Nations, where students compete for delegate awards by exhibiting thorough knowledge of the U.N. and its bodies in addition to their assigned country and topic,” Vargas said. “Awards are also determined by the student’s ability to be diplomatic and to remain ‘in character’ of their country.”

CSUN also earned Outstanding Delegation and Outstanding Research Awards representing Costa Rica at the International Model U.N. conference held in Quito, Ecuador in January, making CSUN one of the best Model U.N. teams in the world, Vargas said.

The countries being represented are assigned by the organizers of the conference depending on how many students are in the delegation and how many people can represent a certain country.

“For example, we were assigned Singapore this year because Singapore was one of the countries represented in six committees (two students per committee) and we have twelve students in our delegation,” Vargas said. “During our International Conference in Ecuador, we brought four students, so we were assigned Costa Rica, which was in two committees (also two students per committee).” 

Vargas said more than 4,000 students compete in this conference with more than a hundred schools from five continents.

“It is incredibly competitive and very hard work, as you can probably imagine,” Vargas said.

Russel Brunston, 23, political science major, said he has heard and read about CSUN’s Model U.N. team and thinks he would like to someday be part of it.
“I have to look into it more. I’ve read about the team in the Sundial before and I know the team is very successful,” Brunston said. “I think I could benefit a lot from the team and I think it’s awesome that they continue to win these awards.”

“I can always applaud and appreciate hard work and commitment like the team presents,” Brunston added.