Adams State Model UN Club attends national conference

(05-12-2008)

In April, eight members of the Adams State College Model United Nations team attended the National Model United Nations conference in New York City Times Square with approximately 2000 other students from the United States, Austria, Italy, Venezuela, and Canada.

Adams State Model UN club has members from disciplines throughout campus including four sophomores - Robin Pryor, theatre; Melissa Kam, psychology; Ashlie Cogburn, education; and Kyli Kehler, government. "This was honestly one of the most enriching and eye-opening experiences of my life," Pryor said.

During the conference, the team represented Uruguay in various committees and dealt with several current global issues including combating the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons, the role of foreign direct investment in development, and reintegrating Iran into international regulations and agreements.

The club members met with their committees daily to simulate the workings of the actual United Nations in developing plans and resolutions to help solve the world's problems.

"This conference was definitely more than I expected," Kehler said. "It was by far the most challenging experience I have had in my life. Learning about another country in-depth and representing them was educational and honorable."

The team met with the Permanent Mission to the United Nations from Uruguay at Uruguay's offices in the UN Plaza. The staff answered the students' questions about Uruguay's positions on the issues dealt with during the conference.

The opening and closing ceremonies took place in the United Nations General Assembly Hall, where Adams State Model UN members were able to sit in Uruguay's seat and vote on final resolutions.

Dr. Mari Centeno, assistant professor of political science, is the club's sponsor. She said the students worked hard throughout the spring semester to train and prepare for the conference and to fundraise. "I saw them working on their research well after sessions ended," she said. "I saw them develop a genuine passionate about their issues and experience the victories and defeats of international diplomacy."

"For one year, Model United Nations worked hard every day to raise money and to prepare for the national conference in New York City," Cogburn said. "I am very grateful for this educational, as well as, personal experience. Model UN taught me so much about the world and myself."

During their free time, the students enjoyed many of the city's attractions. They visited Ground Zero, Coney Island, Central Park, and museums, and they attended Broadway shows and ate dinner in Little Italy.

In the past three years, Adams State Model UN Team has attended the Harvard Model UN conference and traveled to Venezuela on a model diplomatic mission. "The team may be located on a small rural campus, but it is plugged into the world and learning to practice global citizenship," Centeno said.

"Not only was it a chance to show the world, literally, what Adams State is about, but it was also a great way to meet people from around the world and learn about international issues and be able to discuss them in depth," Kam said.

For more information about the Adams State Model United Nations Club, or to make a donation for future events, contact Centeno by email at lmcenteno@adams.edu.