CSU, Chico News

Model United Nations Students Excel at Regional Conference

Date: 11-27-2007

Kathleen McPartland
Public Affairs

Students participating in the Model United Nations (MUN) course at California State University, Chico made a stunning showing at the American West Model United Nations Conference Nov. 17-20 in Las Vegas. They brought home both the Distinguished Delegation award and the Outstanding Delegation award (the top awards given at the conference) and 10 out of 19 possible awards for position papers.

The theme of this year’s conference was “Empowering Cooperation: Confronting Obstacles to Peace.” Each of the 24 students who were members of the CSU, Chico team was assigned a country to represent at the conference within a specific committee (emulating the United Nations) and had three different topics to research for that country. The topics included contemporary forms of slavery, conflict diamonds, combating a nuclear black market, and confronting extremism and civil war in Iraq.

The Distinguished Delegation award went to CSU, Chico students representing Saudi Arabia: Asuka Hatta, Steven Kanavel, Tyler Hanges and Lauren Goll. The Outstanding Delegation award went to CSU, Chico students representing South Africa: Nathan Glover, Sarah Haskell, Heather McMurray, David Vielhaber and Jennifer Cox.

In addition to the top delegations awards and the position paper awards, four individual students received awards: Asuka Hatta received a Distinguished Delegate award for his representation of Saudi Arabia in the Human Rights council; Steven Kanavel received a Distinguished Delegate Award for his representation of Saudi Arabia in the League of Arab States; Anthony Cortese received an Outstanding Delegate Award for his representation of Cuba in the Economic and Social Council; and David Vielhaber received an Outstanding Delegate Award for his representation of South Africa in the Security Council.

Emily Cohen is the head delegate for MUN, and Kelly Shalk is the secretary general. The officers are Aki Matsushima, Chelsea Schick and John Carter. This is the first time in the history of MUN at CSU, Chico that there have been four female officers and the first time in more than a decade that a female head delegate and a female secretary general have been in charge of the class.

“Chico State’s MUN program has been tremendously successful for many years, but this is the best Chico State has ever done at this particular conference,” said Cohen. “MUN is made up of some of Chico State’s best and brightest. These are well-read, well-spoken students with an unfaltering work ethic and an interest in world affairs that is both rare and inspiring.”

The regional conference, sponsored by the Pan-American Model United Nations, prepares students to participate in the National Model United Nations held each spring in New York. The national MUN is the world’s largest university-level simulation of the United Nations. It annually educates more than 3,400 students (40 percent from outside the United States) about the United Nations and contemporary international issues.

The MUN is organized like the United Nations, with committees, programs, a general assembly and a security council. Professor Rick Ostrom teaches the political science course that prepares students to compete and is an advisor to the team.

Model UN program is funded by the Instructionally Related Activities Program, as well as by contributions from the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences and student fund-raising activities.