Friday, April 09, 2010

UIS students win award at National Model U.N. Conference in New York



Members of the University of Illinois Springfield Model United Nations Club were honored with one of the group’s highest global awards during a week-long conference in New York City.

Model United Nations is a conference that simulates an actual United Nations meeting. The UIS delegation consisted of 14 students and one faculty member. UIS was one of 17 institutions to win the Outstanding Delegation Award at this year's conference. Over 400 other international colleges and universities competed during the event, held March 29 through April 3.

“We’ve been participating for over 25 years in the National Model U.N. Conference and this is the top award we’ve got so far,” said Driss Elakrich, UIS head Model U.N. delegate and graduate student.

Students worked for close to two semesters learning about their assigned country, drafting resolutions, working on diplomacy and consensus building, and writing position papers on specific issues (climate change, arms control, poverty alleviation, global disease, the empowerment of women, etc.). This year UIS represented the country of Azerbaijan, which is situated south of Russia and north of Iran in the Caucasus.

“I learned that diplomacy is very, very hard. Building consensus with people, it can be impossible at times. It was also very interesting trying to work out differences with people where English was their second language,” said John Tienken, a freshman political science and global studies major.

Kelsey Quinn, a senior political science major and Priyanka Deo, a senior political science and sociology/anthropology major have both been to the conference before, but say they learn something new on every journey.

“It was amazing to get to see students I know from China, from Mexico coming together at these conferences,” said Quinn.

Deo plans to return to India to pursue her law degree after graduating from UIS in May, but hopes her experience with Model U.N. will help her in the future.

“I’d like to be a lawyer within the U.N., a tribunal lawyer, so I think this experience definitely makes me more comfortable about how the U.N. works and the politics behind it,” said Deo.

Deo has been invited to attend a Global Model U.N. Conference in Kuala Lampur, Malaysia later this year. Quinn attended a similar event in Switzerland this past summer based on her excellent performance.

Members of the UIS Model U.N. group include Caitlyn Barnes, Nicole Calcagno, Priyanka Deo, Justin Doup, Driss Elakrich, Alfred Komolafe, Margaret Martinotti, Gina Massie, Nana Mkheidze, James Schweke, Robyn Stolze, John Tienken, Kelsey Quinn, and Matthew K. Wright.

For more information contact Ali Nizamuddin, assistant professor of political science at 217/206-8424 or email aniza2@uis.edu.

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