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Twenty-three La Verne students participate in Model United Nations competition at UC Santa Barbara, exercising diplomacy and debating international crises.
University of La Verne students Barren Omega, Mary Anne Mendoza and Taylor Grzechowiak brought home distinguished awards from a field of more than 300 participants in an intercollegiate Model United Nations competition last weekend at UC Santa Barbara.
Model United Nations is a growing class and club of the University of La Verne in which students learn about world affairs and the different committees and works of the United Nations, and become skilled in public speaking and diplomacy. Those who wish to pursue the field as a career use this experience to prepare for the U.S. Foreign Service examination.
In the intercollegiate meetings, La Verne students compete with counterparts from other colleges and universities, assuming the role of a particular country or international figure, and debating major international crises. La Verne was represented in Santa Barbara by 23 students, who competed with counterparts from other California schools and those of neighboring states. Coached by Assistant Professor of Political Science Juli Minoves-Triquell, the students tested their diplomacy skills and their knowledge of the United Nations.
“We owe these great results, awards and participation to a bright, committed and hard-working crop of Model UN Students who prepared well for their roles. I am very proud of all of them,” Minoves-Triquell said. “I went to all committees and our students were all engaged and very much essential to the works of their respective committees.”
Many of the La Verne students were first-time participants, but their presence and preparation were noted by other delegations. Minoves-Triquell said his students also showed the collaborative spirit that is a characteristic of the University of La Verne when they were confronted with challenges.
A conflict arose when it appeared that the organizers had assigned Azerbaijan to two universities. La Verne had been assigned first and therefore had priority for a solution of the matter. At that point, both Edgar Ortiz and Omega from La Verne, as affected participants, immediately proposed to form joint delegations with their fellow students from other colleges.
Omega went on to win one of the prized awards, as did Mendoza, representing Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and Grzechowiak who represented Italy.
Minoves-Triquell said the La Verne club will increase its presence in such competitions in Southern California, and the group also has its sights set on the New York Model U.N. which takes place inside the actual United Nations building. He said the competitions will serve as valuable preparation for the Model Arab League that will be hosted by La Verne in March.
“Model UN is very good for learning about the world,” Minoves-Triquell said. “But it is also great fun and I think it is a unique experience for those who are part of it.”
Minoves-Triquell said a lot of the credit for the group’s success was due his predecessor as advisor, Gitty Amini, who built up the club at La Verne through many years, and also to the Model UN Student Board presided over by Chris Ross and Michael Miller this semester, and aided by Mary Anne Mendoza and Edgar Ortiz.