CSULA Model United Nations | May 6, 2013 | Spotlight

Student delegates represent El Salvador at Model U.N. conference

CSULA team nabs Outstanding Delegation award, five additional honors

Picture of CSULA Model United Nations team on stairwell to the Golden Eagle building.

Cal State L.A.’s 17-member student delegation demonstrated its diplomacy and professionalism recently at the annual National Model United Nations (MUN) conference in New York.

The CSULA team members—who primarily served as ambassadors for the Republic of El Salvador—were awarded Outstanding Delegation at the conference. This is the fifth consecutive year that CSULA has earned national accolades.

Only 20 universities out of 207, ranging from seven to 32 students per country, were awarded in the delegation category.

The National MUN conference—sponsored by the National Collegiate Conference Association—is an annual conference that challenges students to engage in a simulation of the United Nations (UN) with other colleges and universities as delegates of designated countries. Founded in 1945 after World War II by 51 countries, the UN is an international organization committed to maintaining international peace and security, developing friendly relations among nations and promoting social progress, better living standards and human rights.

According to CSULA Emily Acevedo, professor of the Political Science 420 course and faculty adviser for the CSULA MUN, the students learned that El Salvador is a complicated country, filled with a rich and painful history.

“This year’s CSULA MUN delegation proved to be an emotional experience for many students who are Salvadoran,” she explained. “Students explored the beauty of this country, along with researching the tragedies it has endured and the challenges it faces, post civil war, to rebuild its country. For many students, this was the first examination into the historical nature of this country’s political development, not just from Spanish colonialism, but U.S. influence. This left students with a hopeful view of El Salvador as it still struggles to heal and move forward.”

Additionally, four of the 11 CSULA committees were each awarded Outstanding Position Paper. Delegates are required to illustrate their knowledge of the agenda topics, affirm the positions their country takes on each topic, and recommend the proper actions to effectively address contemporary global problems in the position papers.

The respective committees, and the following student representatives, were recognized for their Outstanding Position Papers:
General Assembly First – Fernando Trejo
General Assembly Fourth – Salvador Melendez and Andrew Morales
Commission on the Status of Women – Jasmine Clipper and Elizabeth Lopez
United Nations Conference on Trade and Development – Sasha Perez and Christopher Clark

Picture of CSULA Model United Nations individual winners.

L-r: Outstanding Position Paper awardees Andrew Morales, Elizabeth Lopez, Jasmine Clipper, Salvador Melendez and Fernando Trejo.

In addition, Perez and Clark were awarded Outstanding Delegate in Committee for serving on the United Nations Conference on Development and Trade committee.

Other CSULA students in the delegation, and the committees they served on, included: Robert Cira and Luis Mohammed (General Assembly Second); Nick Galadzhyan (Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations); Katy Alvarado and Yessenia Navarro (United Nations Children’s Fund); Nicole Dixon (United Nations Development Programme); Rebecca Martinez and Kathryn Cordova (United Nations Population Fund); and Alejandro Hurtado and Abraham Lindner (International Atomic Energy Agency). Representing the United States, Vanessa Reed and Bianca Marentes sat on the Alternative Security Council committee.

Perez explained that the Model United Nations is different from any other course at CSULA.

“You spend six months in the classroom studying the history of the United Nations and the country you’ll be representing,” she said, “and then test your ability to apply what you’ve learned to current global issues.”

Hurtado added, “The best simulated experience a student can have. You become engaged in finding real-life solutions to issues that are relevant in today’s society.”

Dixon described the experience as “truly invigorating.”

“We were able to learn the techniques and difficulties, to implement the diplomatic code of conduct, formulate innovative ideas, and successfully collaborate among other delegates to address worldwide issues,” he said.

Morales also found the National MUN experience meaningful both personally and professionally.

“I was able to make new friends and learn first-hand how democracy operates, while satisfying so many different agendas and opinions at once,” she said. “Also, I was able to take advantage of the student career session, which put me in touch with other organizations in my future career field.”

El Salvador is the smallest and the most densely populated country in Central America. The country's capital city and largest city is San Salvador; Santa Ana and San Miguel are also important cultural and commercial centers in the country as well as Central America. (source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/El_Salvador.

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