AGS Earns Award at the Model United Nations Conference in London, UK
|Wednesday, 06 March 2013|
A delegation of ten students from the American Graduate School in Paris participated in the 14th London International Model United Nations (LIMUN) conference that took place at Imperial College in London, UK, on February 15-17. The AGS delegation represented Laos and Israel in this large simulation of a United Nations negotiation. AGS was represented among the 83 delegates who earned an award out of the 1,500 participants. Other competing universities included Cambridge, Oxford, Exeter (UK), Sorbonne, Sciences Po (France), and about 200 institutions from over forty countries around the world.
This is the third conference in the MUN program that AGS started in 2012 as a component of its Master’s in International Relations and Diplomacy. The AGS MUN team previously attended conferences in Utrecht, Netherlands and Barcelona, Spain, where it received five awards. It will next participate in the Paris International MUN conference, May 31- June 2, 2013.
Students partipating in LIMUN came with a solid preparation on negotiation strategies, rules of procedure, speech practices, and country history and policies, having met for weekly training sessions during the five months preceding the conference. Coordinating the AGS team throughout the entire process was Ryan Godfrey, candidate in the AGS-Arcadia dual Master’s in International Relations and Diplomacy - International Peace and Conflict Resolution, who has extensive MUN experience as he participated in twelve such conferences in the past.
“We students appreciate opportunities that AGS provides which bridge the classroom to practitioner-based approaches in the field of IR. MUN develops the professional skills that undoubtedly will give us an advantage as we pursue careers in both public and private sectors,” says Godfrey.
In addition to MUN supervisor Ryan Godfrey, the AGS team was composed of nine delegates. Each was assigned to debate in one of the UN Committees of the conference, which included specialized agencies and General Assembly Committees.
Head Delegate Andrea Badiola-Mateos was assigned to the Second Committee of the General Assembly - Economic and Financial (ECOFIN), where she received AGS’s Honorable Mention award. She debated and negotiated on the topics of: the role of gender inequality in hindering development, and combating the international risk of European sovereign debt default.
Cassandra Pate represented Laos in the First Committee of the General Assembly - Disarmament and International Security (DISEC), where she debated and negotiated on the following topics: review of the comprehensive Nuclear-Test Ban Treaty, and controlling the use of unmanned combat air vehicles. In addition, as the committee was missing a representative of Israel, Cassandra volunteered to represent that country. She was selected by the MUN organizers among other volunteers based on her work reprensenting Laos and, without any specific back research, was told by the MUN organizers to have done "a fantastic job".
Christina Boehrer was assigned to the United Nations Drugs and Crime Committee (UNODC), where she debated and negotiated on the specific issues surrounding children as victims of organized crime or human trafficking, and on the topic of drug tourism: the Black Market and its effects of local livelihoods.
Christina Brownfield was assigned to the Fourth Committee of the General Assembly: Special Political and Decolonization Committee (SPECPOL), where she debated on the issue of water security and on the question of Western Sahara.
Gina Casati was on the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) where she debated and negotiated on the following topics: addressing the cause of food shortages on unequal distribution of food in communities, and the potential of agricultural biotechnology as a crucial tool towards poverty alleviation, and the establishment of regulatory standards to govern them.
Jhinni Awotar was assigned to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), where she debated and negotiated on the question of the South China Sea and on the issues surrounding water pollution.
Putiviola Elian Nasir was on the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) where she debated and negotiated on the topics of ending child marriages, and safeguarding children from HIV/AIDS.
Stefan De Las sat on the United Nations Economic and Social Committee (ECOSOC) where he debated on the Global Development Agenda post-2015 and on the regulation and reforms for the global financial system in combating tax avoidance and corruption.
Tim Francis was assigned to the Third Committee of the General Assembly: Social, Cultural and Humnitarian (SOCHUM) where he debated and negotiated on the topics of ensuring sustainable tourism, and coping with the ageing of global population.
Ryan Godfrey recounts: "Our students embodied being a representative of a country, even only referring to themselves as Laos, debating policy on breaks with others, trying to negotiate at every available moment. They may have put aside their identity for the conference, but the personal growth and development are immeasurable."
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I aim to help my students prepare for life beyond "the groves of academe" - especially how to ask the right questions to work out what is really going on out there. Along the way, they practice writing lucidly and succinctly. It is stimulating teaching such a lively crew. I hope they also find it fun being challenged to analyse the facts without prejudice and to think originally.