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March 17, 2008
Students Excel at Model U.N. Conference
What inspires someone to become a lawyer, a politician or a public speaker, jobs that require much training and much responsibility? Sometimes all it takes is a setting that facilitates practice and confidence.
Twelve students represented College of the Canyons at the California Model United Nations (CALMUN) Conference in early March. Out of 19 participating schools, College of the Canyons was second only to California State University, Northridge (CSUN) in receiving a total of three awards. COC students Adiam Negash Kebedom, Ryan Harvey, and Josh Preston, first-timers at the conference, brought home these awards.
Kebedom won an outstanding Research Writing Award for a position paper, presented to the Economic and Social Council Committee. In addition to her achievement in writing, she was diplomatically active on the floor representing South Korea in the committee's work toward fulfilling the Millennium Development Goals. Attending this conference gave Kebedom assurance and confidence in her goal to become a lawyer. "If found out that I really love it," Kebedom said. "I want to protect the rights of others."
Along with Kebedom, Harvey was awarded an outstanding Research Writing Award for a paper presented to the Organization of American States. During the conference, he was a part of the Canadian committee seeking to reconcile issues of free trade and sustainable development. According to David Andrus, assistant professor for the Political Science Department, Harvey interacted well with a committee holding diverse viewpoints, exhibited strong interpersonal skills and a commanding presence. Harvey said the conference showed him what he is capable of. "Our school could compete with any school." The conference gave him confidence in his speaking ability and a desire to pursue a career where he can interact with people.
The highest award a committee can offer at the conference, the "Outstanding Delegate" award, was given to Preston for his work on the Economic and Social Council. Representing the United Kingdom, Preston advocated debt relief for developing nations while keeping a realistic policy position. Andrus said that Preston demonstrated great resourcefulness and quick thinking, given that he had only 5 minutes to prepare for the role of an ambassador, debriefing the "Security Council" on emerging and breaking international crisis. As a political studies major, this conference cemented Preston's affinity for international affairs. "I found out a lot about myself," said Preston.
Including the fact that he could run for President of the United States. "This conference made me open to international affairs."
The Model UN Conference gives students the opportunity to discuss and work through pertinent world issues. The students propose resolutions addressing regional conflicts, peacekeeping, human rights, women and children, economic and social development, and the environment. "It showed the students how hard it is to have agreements within international conferences," said Andrus. "You have to deal with the world." In the midst of these propositions and papers, the students learn to build skills in diplomacy and compromise. The students, on a broader level, also build confidence in public speaking and a greater understanding of Parliamentary procedure.
All three students sponsored and drafted a UN resolution that was adopted by their respective committees, among their many other achievements that day. According to the students, the conference was both enjoyable and educational and they took from it lessons that will influence the rest of their lives.