CSUN’s Model United Nations (MUN) team at traveled to the city of Xian in China over the Thanksgiving weekend to participate in the International Model United Nations Conference.
During a 10-day period, five student delegates from the MUN team represented the country of Kazakhstan on issues of global warming and economic development, and received the Outstanding Delegations Award.
Samantha Carnell, head delegate for the China trip, along with her fellow MUN teammate discovered the opportunity for the first international conference in China and asked their advisor, professor Peter Kappas, if the trip would be possible.
Kappas encouraged the students to seek funds from the school since the MUN team had a strong record of doing well in national conferences.
In 2007 the MUN team received the Outstanding Delegation Honor, MUN’s equivalent of first place. In 2008, they competed against over 3,000 students in the national conference held in New York and repeated their success, representing Afghanistan and taking the top overall honor.
Alexandra Cole, associated professor from the department of political science, was the adviser for the China trip.
Last May when her students came back from the conference in New York, there was discussion about a China trip being in the works. Cole, along with Kappas suggested finding the money to fund the trip due to MUN’s continued success.
‘I suggested that the students go in with the argument that the MUN team has a winning track record so it would be important to go. It’s like USC making it to the Rose Bowl and not showing up,’ said Cole.
With her professors’ encouragement, student delegate Carnell attended an Associated Students meeting during the summer and presented her case. The MUN team was allotted $36,000 for the entire year, and a large portion of that money funded the trip to China.
Cole, who is currently on sabbatical this semester, was asked to be advisor on the trip since she would not have to leave any classes when accompanying the students to China. An advisor’s role is to regularly go to committee meetings, addressing any concerns they may have, and overall making sure that they are prepared for the competition, said Cole.
Cole said that her biggest international challenge as an adviser was making sure that the entire team was together and that no student got lost.
‘There was an extra level of stress, the Chinese people are very punctual and in California we’re used to being a few minutes late to things. I picked up on that pretty early and made sure all the kids were where they needed to be,’ said Cole.
Jorge Guerrero, a 33-year-old economics and political science major, was the only male delegate on the team. Guerrero, along with his partner, Marguerite Sanvictores, won the award for Outstanding Position Paper on the special session on global warming during the conference.
Position papers are similar to research papers where delegates assume the position of their country on a certain issue and debate on that issue according to their country’s policies.
Carnell and her partner also won an Outstanding Position Paper award for their work in the economic and social plenary.
If the MUN delegates could tell CSUN students anything about what they do, Carnell and Guerrero both agree that the opportunity to be a part of MUN has been extremely beneficial.
‘MUN is definitely worth considering. Sometimes there’s a misconception that its ‘child’s play,’ but it is not an easy class, it’s very intense and you have to be very educated on your country’s issues,’ said Guerrero.’ ‘MUN helps students professionally develop their public speaking skills, and it is a bond you share with your classmates, as well as an opportunity to represent your school well.’
‘It’s not only a class, there is team spirit similar to a sports teams. MUN gives you an opportunity to be a part of something special that CSUN has to offer, and it’s a valuable program.’ It’s the most valuable thing I have take from CSUN,’ said Carnell.