May 8, 2017 by Taylor Vancel, NMSU News Center
For the 11th year in a row, New Mexico State University’s Model United Nations team brought home high honors from the 2017 National Model U.N. Conference in New York City.
NMSU earned a “Distinguished Delegation” award, placing the team in the top 15 percent of the more than 5,000 college and university students who participate in the annual conference in April to discuss current global issues.
“I’m not surprised by the students’ achievements at all,” said Neal Rosendorf, the team’s faculty adviser and NMSU associate professor of international relations. “They’re smart, dedicated, have a great work ethic and do most of the practical preparation themselves. The adviser’s role is first and foremost to provide guidance and intellectual ballast.”
Model U.N. is an extracurricular activity where team members represent a country and play the role of delegates to the United Nations and mirror the policy decision-making of U.N. committees. The program is supported by coursework organized by the Department of Government in the College of Arts and Sciences but is open to undergraduate and graduate students of all concentrations at the university.
Team members attribute NMSU’s long term winning track record to the work of previous teams, who established a process to follow.
“All of the officers before us have left us with knowledge and training,” said Prasamsa Dhakal, president of NMSU’s Model U.N. team and second-year graduate student studying business. “It’s exciting to have such a high bar set by previous members and for our team to have completely gone over and above that bar is really encouraging.”
“Overall it was a very unique experience to get to state what we think the country should do as a whole regarding different topics,” said Jan Bonestroo, a sophomore studying family and child science and a first-year team member. “I went in both nervous and excited, but once everything started going I realized how prepared I really was.”
Competing against students representing more than 250 schools, many of them outside the United States, this year NMSU’s team represented Greece.
“We’ve been many other countries in the past and last year we were Ukraine,” said Joli McSherry,” vice president of the team and a junior studying government. “After that, we all seemed to be very interested in European politics and with recent events and one of our members being from there, Greece easily became our top choice.”
For months prior to the conference in New York City, each of the students took on comprehensive research about different aspects of Greece, its government and the challenges the country is facing.
“The economic crisis going on in Greece was definitely something we wanted to learn about and address at competition,” said Michaela de la Rosa a junior government and Spanish major. “For instance, when the banks shut down in 2015, that impacted the country on all different levels and is still a large part of the economic crisis.”
Team members were put on different committees that mirror the actual U.N. committees such as the Economic and Social Council, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization and Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
The NMSU Model U.N. team discussed the refugee crisis, the role of science and technology in security, promoting rights and strengthening protections for older persons and youth leadership and education for sustainable development. “All of our standpoints were for what would help Greece in the long run, not just a short term fix,” said Dhakal.
In addition to the “Distinguished Delegation” award, Wilderness Castillo-Dobson and Marcus Sanchez; Connor Schultz and Isadora Renner; Linda Cisneros and Thomas White; and Joli McSherry and Haley Stewart earned outstanding position paper awards.
This year’s Model U.N. team members have plans to pursue many different paths after graduation, including master’s programs for public diplomacy, law school, seminary and volunteering with the National Model U.N. competition.
“These competitions have taught me so much more than just about the country we have represented that year,” said Dhakal. “It’s taught me a great deal about international affairs and leadership, and I want to continue serving other students through volunteering even after I’m finished here.”
For more information on NMSU Model U.N. visit https://mun.nmsu.edu.