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Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.

UNIVERSITY PRESS

Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.

UNIVERSITY PRESS

FAU wins first place in D.C. National Model United Nations conference

The winning students speak about the skills and experience they gained from the competition.
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Courtesy of Joao Brandao
FAU students at the NMUN conference (Joao Brandao with Bolivia, Isabella Olofson-Ring and Margherita Oselladore with Turkmenistan)

Last Sunday, FAU’s Leon Charney Diplomacy Program (LCDP) students won first place in the National Model United Nations (NMUN) competition held in Washington, D.C., from November 10-12, 2023. The annual diplomatic conference united 902 delegates and 68 schools across five continents for global convergence. 

For the fourth consecutive year in university history, FAU won first place at the NMUN conference and students received delegation awards for their outstanding performance.

According to LCDP director Jeffrey Morton, the program funded this travel-oriented competition and accompanied 94 students to the United States Capital this fall.

The D.C. NMUN  offers eight simulated conferences of the United Nations (UN) committee. The international organization functions on principles of collaboration and cooperation among nations to discuss global issues to maintain international peace and security through multilateral diplomacy. 

NMUN’s intercollegiate experience that replicates the UN system allows students to advance their understanding of the international system structure and the challenges of global diplomacy. 

Through interactive demonstrations, student delegates represented a country and committee to draft resolutions for environmental and social governance issues. 

During NMUN D.C., delegates discussed topics for the following committees: Commission on Population and Development, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), General Assembly Third Committee, Security Council, General Assembly First Committee (GA1), United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA), United Nations Development Programme and Economic and Social Council. 

NMUN Delegation Awards are given based on criteria elements of remaining in character, participating in committee and adequately using the rules of procedure.

FAU students won the following delegation awards for their represented country: 

  • Oman delegation: “Outstanding”
  • Algeria and Turkmenistan delegation: “Distinguished” 
  • Position Papers for Australia (FAO and GA1): “Outstanding” for  pre-conference preparation 
  • Australia, Bolivia, Jamaica, Malaysia and the Philippines (FAO, UNEA): “Honorable Delegation Mention”

Joao Brandao, a first-time delegate, represented the Plurinational State of Bolivia (FAO). As an aspiring politician/lawyer, Brandao had a practical learning experience in portraying the role of an ambassador from a different country and debating current global issues to improve his diplomatic skills.

“Member-states are poised to make the decisions that affect the globe through our agricultural system in developing initiatives that help well-founded member-states, but member-states that are impoverished,” said Brandao. “NMUN has allowed me to enhance my desire in wanting to work in the foreign sector, specifically, within political relations and working with member-states on achieving true diplomatic goals simultaneously.”

Isabella Olofson-Ring, a returning NMUN delegate, unintentionally involved herself in the LCDP after taking an international relations course as a requirement for her political science major. Morton encouraged her to participate in the competition, which gave her insight into the world of international affairs. Olofson-Ring was immediately captivated by the Washington D.C. trip, which further ignited her passion to pursue a career in diplomacy.

After previous NUMUN competitions, Olofson-Ring had the educational opportunity to visit UN headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland and International institutions such as the World Intellectual Property Organizations and the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Each semester, student delegates prepare for the NMUN conference by researching their assigned country and creating binders/position papers addressing committee topics’ policy statements. In these papers, Olofson-Ring represented Turkmenistan (FAO) as a head delegate with the relevant views of her assigned country’s agenda. 

“Preparation for Model UN required thorough research—thousands of pages of work and analysis of complex international issues,” said Olofson-Ring. “Discussing potential solutions in a simulated diplomatic setting enhanced my critical thinking and problem-solving abilities.”

Students develop transferable skills for academic pursuits and expand leadership, negotiation, conflict resolution, collaboration, public speaking, critical thinking, research and technical writing. These skills are vital in diplomacy, delivering speeches and engaging with professionals at the UN to resolve environmental, political and monetary problems.

William DiPetrillo II, who represented the Sultanate of Oman (UNEA), credits participation in NMUN for improved public speaking and communication skills. DiPetrillo developed an appreciation of differing viewpoints, experienced negotiation challenges, and discovered the human side of international relations/diplomacy. 

“Thanks to this program, I have become a confident public speaker, a skill that has limitless applications in the career world,” said DiPetrillo. “Along with that, my knowledge of the inner workings of the United Nations and, by extension, how the world is run, has never been made greater in any other course offered at FAU currently.”

Another delegate from the “Outstanding” Oman, Dara Jaffe, was on the FAO committee that delivered speeches on executing FAU’s strategic plan for 2031 and addressing conditions of the world’s fisheries and aquaculture. Oman was a sponsor involved in the writing and editing process of the paper for resolutions. Jaffe highly recommends NMUN to other students to compete and learn about the diplomatic process. 

“You don’t have to be a political science major or interested in pursuing anything within the realm of politics to participate,” said Jaffe. “I am very excited to start preparing for the competition in spring 2024, which [will be] held in New York City.”

Michael Cook is a Staff Writer for the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected].

 

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