By Lauren Santye
For the sixth consecutive year, Rider’s Model U.N. team took home the Outstanding Delegation award, which is received by the top 5% in the National Model United Nations 2014 Conference.
The conference took place in New York from March 30 to April 4 and was held at the Sheraton Hotel in Times Square. This year the Rider team represented Indonesia.
Although this year’s team was confronted with a few challenges, they were able to persevere, and bring home the highest achievement for the sixth year in a row.
“This year, our team was very large, and we only had a few students come back from previous teams,” said Rebecca Grossman, a senior political science and global studies major. “Especially with the snow days, such a huge team with so little experience, there were some new challenges this year. However, the second we got there, when I saw the team interacting with the other schools, I knew we were going to rock it. The team was a perfect mix of writers, academics, diplomats, speakers and businessmen, and they all managed to play up their strengths better than anyone would have ever expected. Honestly, from the second they walked in, I was looking at post-doctorate professionals, not first year undergraduate students.”
According to Grossman, there were more than 500 schools and more than half of them are international. The conference is essentially a “big simulation of how the United Nations does its work.”
“The aim is to diplomatically collaborate with one another to solve world issues; they don’t stress the competitive aspect,” she said. “We do so well because we stress the importance of working with each other as opposed to working against each other. This year, we represented Indonesia, so we sort of adopt the persona of an Indonesian ambassador. We place our personal views aside in order to see through an international lens.”
Within the team, pairs were assigned to various committees. Edgar Mendieta, a junior, global studies and political science major, was apart of the General Assembly Three committee, which had three different topics.
“The main topic we worked on was migrant and human rights, due to time, as delegates from Indonesia,” Mendieta said. The purpose was to create a resolution in the United Nations format that would benefit the global and work with other member states.”
Winifred Mackintosh, a junior political science and English major, was in awe of how the Model UN conference went.
“We got to take on the role of being a real diplomat from Indonesia — the country we were representing — and cooperate with other representatives to create working documents and resolutions on big, international issues,” Mackintosh said. “It was an amazing way to see how change is actually made at the international level. I personally made a lot of friends and learned a lot of valuable life skills about how to be persuasive, how to talk to people, and how to work under pressure.”
The days spent in New York varied everyday. According to Grossman, the sessions would last about three hours long.
“We would be in session from about 8 a.m. to 11 p.m., with a few breaks in the middle for lunch and dinner,” she said. “In committee is where all the formal works was done, and your breaks could be spent doing more work for committee, eating, going to one of the networking or career fairs, attending a seminar with world-renowned speakers, or taking a nap. After committee session we would meet as a team for a debrief, where we would talk about what happened that day and discuss strategy for the following day. Then, they had a delegate lounge, where a lot of the schools would go to blow off some steam. They had a DJ, so it was kind of a party atmosphere. But you could also use that time to sleep, explore New York, or catch up on work.”
The reoccurring theme among delegates was that one of the highlights of the conference was meeting new people and making friends.
“My favorite part of the conference was when we got to actually sit around and work with the other people in the committee to write the paper we were trying to write,” said Nikita Mycyk a sophomore political science major..
However, Andrew Dimino a junior, entrepreneurial studies/management major, liked the nightly team meetings.
“My favorite part of conference is our debriefings as a team after each long day of intense diplomacy among the vast variety of delegates,” he said. “As a team we go over strategies to overcome our challenges in how to be diplomatic with states that have opposing views or with delegations that are hard to work with. These debriefs, I believe, are what make us succeed year after year. In the debriefs I also feel like this is where we ultimately form a team. It is always a bit of a comic relief and what makes you feel not alone at the end of the day.”
The award ceremony was held on April 3 and took place at the United Nations. Normally the ceremony would take place in the general assembly hall, but this year the real hall was undergoing renovations.
Later that night, students were awarded with a dance, where schools got to celebrate their hard work, said Grossman.
Overall, the delegates found the experience to be very rewarding and educational.
It’s definitely a great experience,” said Mendieta. “If you are interested in joining next year, I would tell you to be prepared to work hard, to be challenged, to grow and more importantly that you’ll have fun. It definitely has made my college year so much better. It helped me enjoy my career goal even more, and has made me excited for the future. I’m definitely looking forward to joining again next year.”
The Model UN 2014 Team will be holding a Teach-in April 15. During this time, members will share their experiences, talk about the process and start recruitment for next year’s team.