NMSU Model United Nations team wins top awards

April 23, 2009 by Louie Calderon NMSU News Center

Model United Nations team poses for a group photo in New York City. (submitted photo)

Model United Nations team poses for a group photo in New York City. (submitted photo)

New Mexico State University’s Model United Nations team was named “Outstanding Delegation,” which is the top award category, at the National Model United Nations Conference held earlier this month in New York.

This is the second year in a row that the team has received this award, which only about 5 percent to 10 percent of schools worldwide achieve.

“The team continued its record of excellence at the National Model U.N. competition,” said Jason Ackleson, associate professor of government and the team’s faculty advisor. “In doing so, they learned much about important world events, the art of diplomacy and negotiation and a greater understanding of different cultural and political perspectives about the world.”

Model United Nations is an academic simulation of the U.N. that intends to educate participants about effective communication and multilateral diplomacy.

For the past 13 years, NMSU has attended the conference, which is one of the most prestigious Model U.N. competitions, attracting more than 4,000 students, half of whom come from outside the United States.

At this year’s competition, the NMSU team was assigned to represent Finland, one of the 192 member states of the U.N. The team came up with research-based solutions to major international issues, based on the position of the country they represented.

In addition to being named top delegation, the team was recognized with the “Outstanding Position Paper” award, which recognizes excellence in preparatory research for the conference.

“It is great to have won these awards at such a prestigious international conference,” said Fatah Hafassa, president of NMSU’s Model U.N. team. “It is a confirmation of the quality of the program as it keeps developing and producing new leaders among our student body.”

Ackleson said the team is able to compete at such a high level because of the time they invest in preparation for the event.

“They work tirelessly to research and represent the positions of our assigned country, as well as learn parliamentary procedure and negotiating techniques,” he said.

Three members of NMSU’s team also were selected by the conference to serve as chairs of their committees, a prestigious distinction that demonstrates the high performance of the team.

“The commitment and dedication of the Model United Nations team members, our faculty adviser, in addition to the unwavering support of the NMSU administration and the community at large, all were vital in making the program as successful as it is today,” Hafassa said. “Thanks to everyone involved.”

A new Model U.N. team will be selected this fall and students from all majors, undergraduate or graduate, are welcome to try out.

For more information, contact Ackleson at jackleso@nmsu.edu.

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