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Back row from left, Dr. Ben Taylor, assistant professor of political science and public policy; Zoe Schwartz '16; Charlie Marquis ’16; and John Kelly '19. Front row from left, Siobhan Greene ’17, Teaching Assistant Allie Kadell '16, Tyler Spencer ’19, Nikki LoGiudice '17, Amber Coombe ’17 and Dr. David Cupery, assistant professor of political science and public policy.

Students Participate in Model United Nations

03/30/16

Seven students found out what it’s like to be a delegate to the United Nations last month when they participated in the 2016 North American Model United Nations (NAMUN) conference at the University of Toronto in Ontario, Canada.

From stepping into the role of Israel’s minister of defense during the Stuxnet-Israel Joint Crisis to representing India during a convention on genocide, the students were among the 400 delegates from colleges and universities around the world who tackled issues like terrorism and cyber warfare, and debated the finer points of international law and diplomacy.

NAMUN singled out two MCLA delegates for their participation.

For her work on the Stuxnet Crisis Committee as part of the Israeli government in the character of Israel’s Minister of Defense, Moshe Ya’alon, history major Amber Coombe ’17 of Mystic, Conn., was recognized as an “Outstanding Delegate.”

In addition, Tyler Spencer ’19 of Westminster, Mass., who majors in political science and public policy, was named “Best Delegate” for his efforts as the U.N. Security Council’s delegate from France during the 1960 Congo Crisis.

According to Spencer, the conference allowed him to learn more about himself and how he might use his leadership style to work with others.

“In committee, I spearheaded three resolutions,” Spencer explained. “As France, I wanted to promote the development of a unified Congo, and I wanted to keep peacekeepers out of the Congo.

“In the first resolution, I eventually allowed 3,000 peacekeepers to enter the Congo, but only because I was able to get a ceasefire, peace talks and refugee camps set up,” he continued. “In the second resolution, I got the USSR and the USA to agree to stay out of the Congo so that it did not become a cold war issue. Finally, I wrote a third resolution that addressed the safety of civilians and the eradication of a terrorist organization.”

History and education major Charlie Marquis ’16 of Tewksbury, Mass., is interested in becoming a lobbyist for educational policies and parliamentary procedure.

“This conference was very helpful with enhancing my quick thinking skills and drafting of legal language,” Marquis said. “The exposure to so many different kinds of people tested my ability to thrive in a diverse environment, and the skills I applied can be useful in many professional settings, even taking command of a room as a future teacher.” 

According to Coombe, who also attended the 2015 conference, “I like to challenge myself and learn more about the world around me, so participating in Model UN gave me an opportunity to learn about other countries, different systems of government, and work with students from around the world.”

“Working in a dynamic group with ‘traitors’ and ‘allies,’ this experience taught me how to accomplish an overarching goal while handling the multitude of complications that arise in a high-stress environment,” Coombe continued. “With the objective of one day becoming a political leader, this conference gave me experience working in a similar environment to the one I aspire to be a part of.”

Like Coombe, the trip also marked the second time that Siobhan Greene ’17, a history and secondary education major from Norwood, Mass., participated in NAMUN.  This year, she represented the Kingdom of Jordan during the Congo Crisis.

“Model UN forces you to think about the issues from a different viewpoint,” Greene explained. “When I was in my committee, I wasn’t a 21st century American college student; I was a 20th century representative of Jordan.”

She added, “Model UN forces everyone to come together and create a unified solution through diplomacy. We are all trying to get our goals in, but sometimes someone else has a better idea and that is the one that wins.”

This is the fifth consecutive year MCLA has sent a delegation to NAMUN.