Pace Students Excel at 2017 Washington DC Model UN Conference

Pace University New York City students representing the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya and Namibia at the 2017 National Model UN conference in Washington DC. Photo: NMUN.

Representing Kenya, Namibia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) in at the 2017 National Model United Nations conference in Washington DC (NMUN DC), 26 Pace University New York City students received a Distinguished Delegation and Honorable Mention Delegation awards, as well as six Outstanding Position Paper awards for their written work.

“At Model United Nations, you broaden your horizons,” wrote UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in a letter to the conference. “By learning and networking, you can be part of the efforts of the United Nations to establish peace, secure human rights and enable all people to live in dignity.”

Pace students’ eight awards placed them joint 4th out of 67 participating universities and higher education institutions from around the country and the world, in terms of total awards received.

Veronica Albarella ’18 representing Kenya in a simulation of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs at the 2017 National Model UN conference in Washington DC. Photo: NMUN.

“Model UN is a unique learning experience. Everyone was so committed and thorough in their research that I learned a lot about other countries and how the UN functions,” said Veronica Albarella ’18, who represented Kenya in a simulation of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs, receiving an Outstanding Position Paper award for her research on mitigating the trade in illicit drugs through encouraging alternative livelihoods and engaging with civil society. She was joined in CND by fellow Pace student Maryel Cardenas ’21, representing DRC.

“I was surprised by how authentic the whole experience felt. All of the students were dedicated to their roles as delegates and the staff conducted the meetings according to rules of procedure. It created the atmosphere of being at a real UN conference.”

Six Pace students discussed issues of internal displacement and the challenges faced by refugees living in urban environments in a simulations of decisionmaking in the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

Uday Joshi ’18 (right), representing Namibia in a simulation of decisionmaking in UNHCR at the 2017 National Model UN conference in Washington DC.

“Not only did it give me a deeper knowledge of world politics today, NMUN DC also made me better understand the crucial role that the United Nations plays in the international community,” said Sandra Grondahl ’18 who, along with her delegation partner Uday Joshi ’18, represented Namibia in the UNHCR committee, receiving an Outstanding Position Paper award. They were joined by Gabrielle Chalk ’19 and Carina Draper ’20, representing DRC and Sheyda Aliyeva ’18 and Silvia Dominguez ’21, representing Kenya.

“Working together with people from all over the world with different cultural backgrounds, negotiating resolutions and coming to an agreement on a solution, is a great experience to have if you, like me, want to have a career in international relations,” said Sandra.

In the simulation of the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), AbdulAziz Alamri ’19 and Tiya Singh ’21 received an Outstanding Position Paper award for their representation of Kenya. Alyssa Curran ’20, representing DRC, and Marla Teixiera ’19, representing Namibia, also participated in the committee’s conversations on how to minimize the negative effects of globalization and encourage corporations’ social responsibility.

Jonathan Brennan ’20 (representing Kenya) and Meaghan Duffy ’18 (representing Namibia) both received Outstanding Position Paper awards for their work on addressing issues of cyber security  and the illicit trafficking of small arms and light weapons. Working in a simulation of the UN General Assembly First Committee, they were joined by Dorin Khoiee-Abbasi ’19 and Rachelle Duval ’20, representing DRC.

“I didn’t really realize the significance of the UN until I was at the conference. It helped me see that this is one of the few bodies that has the forum and ability to enact change across hundreds of countries,” said Noelle Howard ’19, who played the role of Kenya’s representative in the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). She received an Outstanding Position Paper award for her research on nuclear technology’s potential in improving water security, as well as improving disarmament and non-proliferation safeguards and verification.

“It seems a little obvious but once you attend the conference you realize that this body has the ability to completely change the world stance on highly important topics, such as nuclear weapons.”

Colin Morse ’19 (at the microphone) and Jonathan Brennan ’20 (behind Colin), ask questions of the guest speaker at the closing ceremony of the 2017 National Model UN conference in Washington DC. Photo: NMUN.

In the simulated UN Environment Assembly debate on protection of the environment in armed conflict and safeguarding the oceans, Colin Morse ’19 and Katherine Ketterer ’21 represented DRC; Alyssa Roldan ’20 and Curtis Robinson ’19, Kenya; and Tuan Phuong Le ’18, Namibia.

“We are very proud of the students’ work at the conference,” said Dr. Matthew Bolton, faculty adviser to the Pace NYC Model UN program. In supporting the students he was aided by Dr. Aileen Cardona of the Political Science department and four student Head Delegates: Joseph Colella ’19, Mary-Lynn Hearn ’19, Nigina Khaitova ’18 and Megan Zubar ’20. “The Head Delegates volunteered many hours to help co-teach classes, mentor students and organize logistics,” said Dr. Bolton. “They are great examples of student leadership.”

Located only two express subway stops from the iconic United Nations complex on the East River, Pace University’s New York City Model UN program has a 65-year history of excellence in regional, national and international conferences. Model UN at Pace is a class, uniquely integrated into the political science curriculum within the Dyson College of Arts and Sciences and aims to encourage students to develop wisdom, knowledge, skills and community for global vocation and citizenship.

Pace’s involvement in Model UN is indicative of the university’s broader engagement with the UN. Notably, Pace students and faculty participated in the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize-winning advocacy of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN).  In the last few years, students and faculty have  also worked closely, particularly with civil society, in the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, Commission on the Status of Women, Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, UN General Assembly First CommitteeConvention on Certain Conventional Weapons and Arms Trade Treaty. In 2016, Pace University was featured in a report by then UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, recognizing its “growing role in disarmament education.”

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About Matthew Bolton

I am assistant professor of Political Science at Pace University and author of Foreign Aid and Landmine Clearance.
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