UCR’s Model United Nations club has seen many successes as a result of its member’s dedication and hard work. With their upcoming conference in New York City, I have sat down with members of the executive board to learn more about MUN and what to expect for the conference.
Sitting down for the interview were members of MUN’s executive* board. Cecilia Lopez Gonzalez; fourth-year political science major and MUN President, Angela Chien; second-year political science/international affairs major and MUN Outreach Coordinator, Subham Barua; fifth-year political science/economics double major and Outreach Deputy, Armando Ruiz-Rosas; third-year public policy/spanish double major and Finance Director, Haley Perez- Rodriguez; third-year political science/international affairs major and Fundraising Coordinator, and Tomas Alves; second-year political science/international affairs major and Secretary.
The Model United Nations club aims to give its members the opportunity of emulating the United Nations by learning about global policy issues and creating solutions to them. There are local and national conferences where MUN members have the opportunity to act as delegates for the countries they represent. All members are welcome to participate in local conferences, but a more selective interview process is utilized to select the group of delegates for national conferences. There are two major national conferences that UCR MUN attend; Washington DC in November and New York in April. With the New York conference fast approaching, UCR MUN is busy with preparations.
The national conference is hosted by NMUN – the group that hosts the MUN simulations. Delegates invited to participate come from all over the world. During the New York conference, UCR will be representing the countries of the United Arab Emirates and South Sudan with a twenty-seven person team including five alternates. Leading the team are head delegates Tomas Alves and Armando Ruiz-Rosas.
To prepare the delegates organized meetings with notable people such as the South Sudanese ambassador to Ethiopia and representative to the African Union and the ambassador of Poland. During the conference, the MUN team has plans to meet with dignitaries of the United Arab Emirates.
I asked for the topics that would be discussed at the conference and learned that there are multiple different committees that have different issues they focus on. One committee is the General Assembly First Committee or GA1. The topic discussed will be Youth for Disarmament, Proliferation, and Peace, Barua says. Another committee is the Security Council or SC and one of the topics is Women Peace and Security: Ending Cycles of Sexual Violence and Conflict. The General Assembly third Committee is Safeguarding Human Rights of Persons Displaced by Climate Change.
I sat down with both of them to learn about what to expect from the conference. “It’s a weeklong conference”, explains Alves, “and is characterized by a lot of committee meetings.”
The conference begins with role call and housekeeping rules. Then begins the main part of the conference: the formal and informal sessions.The conference goes back and forth between formal and informal sessions until the conference is over.
“During formal sessions is where individual countries are giving speeches… in order to voice their stances and opinions” on the given topics, says Chien. Individuals will also be given the motion to end the formal session and begin the informal session. The informal session is where “the discussions and negotiations come into play.” This is where policies and recommendations will be created and teams are able to determine if they can “work with a member state” and scope out possible signatories. The informal session is also where UCR MUN’s diplomatic skills will shine.
The goal at the end of the conference is to have “written and passed a resolution… that was voted on and passed by the entire committee body,” Chien explains.
“There is a great amount of opportunity that you can receive in New York ranging from personal development to networking”, says Ruiz-Rosas. The MUN conference is an invaluable opportunity to learn from and work with people all over the world, gaining firsthand experience of different perspectives and seeing how to work together to create policy for problems affecting the world presently. The conference helps to “get a global perspective of what the international community really is.”
UCR’s model UN is a competitive and diligent club, they have high expectations for themselves and expect to place in the top five percent of the delegations that attend. According to Ruiz-Rosas, as head delegates, he and Alves have the unique responsibility of leading the delegates to success and are “taking that on with a really great passion.” However, during their free time, the delegates are looking forward to enjoying a more relaxing trip in New York once the conference is over by playing tourist and enjoying the city.
According to Ruiz-Rosas, as head delegates, he and Alves have the unique responsibility of leading the delegates to success and are “taking that on with a really great passion.”
There was overwhelming praise for the public speaking, leadership, and diplomatic skills that MUN instills in its members. Further than those skills, Cecilia Lopez-Gonzalez shares that her favorite part of MUN has been the unique opportunity to establish friendships with international students at the conference that would have otherwise been unable to happen. Barua also highlights the importance of the MUN conferences in networking, graduate school opportunities, and study abroad programs. As Lopez-Gonzales puts it, “the club is a forum to elevate ourselves.”
UCR MUN is always looking for new members to join them, regardless of major or prior experience. Apart from general meetings, they host socials which is a great opportunity to meet MUN members and learn more about the club. MUN is committed to developing your strengths and teaching you skills that are applicable to whatever you choose to do in the future. If you are someone who wants to develop or strengthen their public speaking, diplomatic, and writing skills, go check out UCR’s MUN.