Nicholas Souza, News/Online Editor
Earlier this February, 11 student delegates from Utica College’s Utica Model United Nations Student Club attended the Harvard National Model United Nations (HNMUN) conference in Boston for the 44th time.
UC students participated in this Model U.N. event with more than 3,000 other students from across the world. The colleges range in size from small, private institutions such as UC to ivy leagues such as Yale and Princeton. As many as Seventy countries from across the globe participated in the conference. Institutions such as the University of Toronto, University of Nairobi, Universitas Indonesia, and University College London are a few of the international colleges represented at the conference.
During the conference, UC’s Model U.N. club was broken up into several committees where they would have the opportunity to debate with other delegates on issues currently facing international politics. UC represented Albania during the conference.
Each college gets to submit preferences of which country they would like to represent. Albania was one of the top picks for the class due to the high number of international students from Albania in UC’s club. Students attending the event must know the country they are representing inside and out so having UC students who are from Albania, benefited the group. The clubs first choice was North Korea.
“[The] Utica College group represented Albania, a country which I come from, so it was a very special moment for me to represent my own country in such an important forum,” Amarildo Ceka, HNMUN participant, said. “Additionally it was an honor for me to be chosen as a head delegate. More than half of HNMUN’s 3000 delegates come from outside the United States and it was an amazing experience meeting and debating with the tomorrow’s leaders.
Anyone who turns on the news can see that there are many issues in international politics that are at the forefront of people’s minds. Issues such as water scarcity, disease, education, disarmament, and state boundaries in the Middle East are just a few of the options that UC students had the chance to potential debate.
“The Harvard Model United Nations is a replica of the United Nations where college students from all over the world gather to represent their assigned countries on many important issues that the world is facing,” Jun Kwon, assistant professor of government and advisor of UC’s Utica Model United Nations Student Club, said. “You can submit a list of ten countries you want to represent in advance. One of your choices is assigned by the Conference organizers. Delegates then choose committees and special agencies at the United Nations that they desire to participate in. Utica College had 11 delegates who represented Albania in six different committees. Delegates representing their assigned countries on each committee debate and discuss a topic in order to get their own resolutions passed on the last day of the Conference.”
Sung Jang, an international student at UC and HNMUN participant, was the head delegate on the historical General Assembly, 1979 committee and this year’s conference was his 18th model U.N. conference. This was his first conference in North American after previously participating in Model U.N. conferences in Singapore and Vietnam.
Jang believes that one of the most important aspects of this conference is that students get to meet people from all different walks of life and experience how other countries operate, politically.
UC is a small, private college in Central New York, situated between larger universities such as Syracuse, Albany and Cornell. Many would think that UC would not have the opportunity to participate in such a large conference like this but despite the college’s size, UC offers world-class opportunities like attending the HNMUN conference.
This conference is one that Utica College’s Utica Model United Nations Student Club works toward every year and brings a level of pride to the college. Kwon believes that with what this club is doing, students should be more aware of international politics and how the United Nations operates.
“We can’t imagine International Politics without the United Nations in the 21st century,” Kwon said. “The UN has been doing a good job at fulfilling its three main goals in the last seven decades: Peace, Human Rights, and Economic Development. Participation in the Harvard Model UN would allow our Utica students to have hands-on knowledge about how the United Nations runs. It also would serve as an opportunity for our students to raise awareness of many critical issues in the world.”