Thursday, April 17, 2014

Harvard’s Model United Nations Delegates to the World

Gordon’s Model UN students had a very successful weekend at Harvard University participating in a simulation of the United Nations General Assembly, for which enrollment, guidelines and participation acceptance are set by Harvard. Gordon's delegation consisted of 18 students enrolled in political scientist Paul Brink’s International Diplomacy course.

The Model UN experience challenges students to think and work in new ways concerning an assigned country and the issues facing that society, and to develop skills required in international diplomacy. Class time is devoted to research, public speaking, practicing simulations, and strategizing. Though Harvard makes the country assignments, the Gordon team is able each year to send its top 10 picks. "We typically seek African states, because I want our students to get a taste of representing states that are not superpowers," said Brink, a native of Canada with extensive research in liberalism and pluralism. "This year, though, there weren’t many African states with delegation sizes large enough, and we received Saudi Arabia."
Brink calls the annual Harvard event "the Superbowl of Model UN competitions." Among Gordon's team successes this year, one special highlight was Dawn Cianci '14 (a double major in philosophy and political science) winning the Best Delegate award among students representing Arab League nations. "This recognition is a very high honor in Model UN simulation," said Brink. Cianci, a native of California, is the first Gordon woman to win a Harvard National Model UN award and one of a small handful of Gordon students to win such recognition from Harvard's awarding committees.

Over 3,000 college/university students participated in the Harvard competition this year; student teams from the U.S. and other nations represented 73 different countries. Last year, Gordon represented Tunisia. Other countries represented by Gordon students in the past include Angola, Uganda, Kenya, Zambia and Gabon. Gordon also offers a Model UN Club for students interested in competing at international club level.
Photo: Best Delegate honoree Dawn Cianci.

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