Cal State Long Beach’s Model United Nations team returned from San Francisco this week after another successful venture, this time at the Model United Nations of the Far West conference.
The MUN team earned five out of a possible five Slanczka Diplomacy Awards for their representations as Congo, Guatemala, Greece, Switzerland and Jordan.
This is another victory on the club’s long list of accomplishments. They started 2017 by winning several awards at both the National MUN Singapore conference Feb. 17-19 and National MUN New York March 19-23, where six CSULB representatives competed with 3,000 other students from schools all around the world
“Unfortunately we didn’t have as many students from other countries because of the travel ban,” said senior cultural anthropology major and president of LBSUMUN, Sarah Cobos.
When asked about what makes them a winning team, Cobos said: “[It is] the training, preparation and the tools that we give our delegates and the passion we bring to every conference. We pride ourselves in keeping our focus and representing our school well.”
Cobos said that not only does their preparation help them win awards at competitions but sometimes they are awarded specifically for their research conducted prior to contests.
MUN is a competitive and educational simulation of the real life United Nations. Each team is assigned a country that they must represent as an international delegate. Students are encouraged to research topics and debate and negotiate that country’s political position in order to find solutions for current real-life global scenarios, like nuclear disarmament or climate change adaptation.
They have to put themselves in the shoes of another country instead of speaking from their own perspective – for example, how North Korea would represent themselves in a conversation about nuclear warfare.
“It makes you a better global citizen,” Cobos said.
The teams are composed of members called delegates that are placed into specific committees that try solving problems collaboratively.
Sophomore political science major and Secretary of LBSUMUN, Matthew Taylor, explained, “When you go into voting, your proposal is presented in front of a body. Every proposal is voted for, against, or abstained from. For example, when the United States has a bill on the floor, Israel may not necessarily like what the U.S. is doing – but, their policy is to be aligned with the U.S., so the [delegate] would abstain.”
At the end of the competition, the delegates with the best performances are awarded. Participants are judged on diplomacy, decorum, speech quality and the ability to follow procedure.
Cobos said the club accepts students from all majors and are always seeking more members. However, they are having elections and an end of the year banquet in the next week, but will be eager to start up again in the fall, recruiting at Week of Welcome.
“We want to have fun but the big thing is really learning and representing, embodying the mission of the United Nations. Every time you work with a big group of people you are going to come into conflict, but we pride ourselves in being diplomatic and trying to overcome those situations so that everyone can have a rewarding positive educational experience,” Cobos said.
Jason Enns contributed to this article.