CSUN Model UN team wins awards at conference

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Students from CSUN’s Model United Nations class won the Distinguished Delegation Award and the Outstanding Position Paper Award at the National Model United Nations Conference in New York, March 19-27.

“This year, we had a really strong all-around team, and Dr. (Peter) Kappas was a huge part of our success,” said Albert Atri, senior political science major.”To hear our school’s name announced at the closing ceremony was truly an honor.”

The class is taught by Kappas, part-time political science lecturer, and is broken into two sections. During the fall semester, students learn the rules of the United Nations.

Each student is assigned a country to represent during class simulations of U.N. bodies, such as the General Assembly or the Security Council, said Robert Escobar, CSUN Model United Nations member.

Atri, who has been the head delegate of the Model United Nations team for this past year, said the team felt nervous every time an award was given to a CSU.

“The first couple of times you hear ‘California State University,’ your heart starts pumping hard, your palms get sweaty, and your mind races,” Atri said. “Being the head delegate, I had the honor of receiving our award in front of all the delegations. Walking the long aisle to the front of the General Assembly’s Great Hall and back was a great experience.”

Over 200 schools from all over the world compete at the conference in New York, which lasts a week and is usually held in March.

“The spring semester, and the winter break, is spent preparing for the National Conference,” said Robert Escobar, CSUN Model United Nations member. “We discuss world policy and tackle the same issues that the real United Nations is considering at the time, from the viewpoint of the country we have been assigned.”

During the first semester, students participating in the class attend two competitions, one in Anaheim, and a three-day conference in Las Vegas. The spring semester is dedicated to preparing for the weeklong conference in New York.

“The experience (gained in this course) has led me to believe I have what it takes to discuss and mediate political and social issues in a varied body of people and opinions,” said Brent Burpee, junior political science major. “Being in the Model UN made me feel like part of the real international community, rather than simply an observer.”

There are 12 people currently enrolled in the class.

Other recent achievements of the Model United Nations team consist of Distinguished Delegate Awards and Outstanding Delegate Awards at the Long Beach Conference, held March 5.

They also received awards at the Las Vegas Conference, which was held Nov. 20-23, 2004, and at the Anaheim-Buena Park Conference held Oct. 30, 2004.