After an intense week-long simulated United Nations conference, Cal State L.A.'s Model U.N. chapter brought home a big souvenir from the Big Apple-its first national award since the club's inception more than 30 years ago.
Donald Bray, professor of Latin American Studies and one of the Model U.N. faculty advisers at Cal State L.A., commented on the students' dedication: "Their physical stamina was taken to its limit by continuous day/night presentations, document writing and negotiations. At the end they knew that excruciating effort had sharpened their engagement with life. But most important, they found through their team endeavors that they respected and loved one another."
The Cal State L.A. team placed in the top 30 schools among 190 universities in the United States. The best teams were ranked in three categories: outstanding delegation, distinguished delegation and honorable mention. Cal State L.A. students earned the honorable mention distinction. Rebekah Viola, one of two team leaders who mentored the student delegates, estimates that schools from nearly a dozen other countries participated in the national conference, including academic institutions from Japan, Germany, England, France, Canada and Mexico.
Each participating university was assigned to represent a country or organization within the United Nations last September in order to prepare for this year's national conference. Representing the Republic of Italy, the delegation of 32 Cal State L.A. students were divided into 16 committees of two-member teams, each having to research policies and issues for their respective committees as well as general facts regarding Italy.
According to the participants, the experience helps to improve public speaking and communication skills, introduce students to the workings of the U.N., develop thoroughness in research and organization, meet other students and officials from around the world and promote team leadership.
The students, from a variety of ethnic backgrounds and majors, held fundraising events to raise some of the money for the National Model United Nations conference. The University's School of Natural and Social Science, Associated Students, Inc., Alumni Association, Emeriti Association and Equal Opportunity Program (EOP) provided the remaining funding for the trip. EOP also provided individual copies of the winning team plaque to all the team members.
| Public Affairs Offices/Campus News
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