April 24, 2009
Model United Nations Team Attends National Competition
On April 7, Samford’s Model United Nations team traveled to New York City to compete in the annual National Model United Nations (NMUN) competition. The group landed in New York on Tuesday morning and immediately began preparing for Tuesday night’s first meeting. Though the competition was an enormous amount of work, Alex Sconfienza, a junior International Relations major said, “the New York experience was an excellent way to learn to work with others in a diplomatic environment and a fun way to get to know people while doing something meaningful.”
Samford’s delegation represented the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. While in New York they met with Slobodan Tashovski, Representative of the Republic of Macedonia to the United Nations. Tashovski answered the students’ questions about various international policies in Macedonia.
Samford’s delegation also had the unique opportunity of attending a reception for Samford alumni living in New York. The event was hosted by Samford’s Alumni Association and Todd Crider `87, an attorney specializing in international law. Crider, 2006 Alumnus of the Year, gave the students a tour of his law firm and answered questions about the work he does internationally.
The NMUN process began long before the students arrived in New York. The Samford students gave a great deal of time and effort, attending weekly meetings and Saturday simulations in order to prepare for the event. Each student also wrote and submitted a position paper highlighting a country’s stance on predetermined topics.
During a NMUN competition delegations from each school are assigned countries that are members of the United Nations, and the schools representing these countries strive to accurately portray the actions that would be taken by the country they are representing. This involves a great deal of preliminary research as well as forming alliances with countries during the competition.
MNUN participants are assigned particular committees to work on throughout the competition. In the various committees, delegates work together to first write preliminary forms of resolutions. Then these are merged until final resolutions are formed. Resolutions are the formal text that is adopted by the UN, and though these resolutions are generally non-binding, they serve as the framework for international policy.
With over 4,000 student participants worldwide, the NMUN program is the largest in the world. The organization sponsors several competitions every year, including an international competition in Xi’an, China which Samford’s team attended in November. Over half of the participants at the New York competition were international, which led to a unique opportunity to practice diplomacy at its finest.
The students representing Samford were: Thomas Archer, Caroline Milam, Erica Carr, Misha Mitchell, Dianella Rangel, Hilary Sawyer, Stephanie Pike, Alex Sconfienza, Clay Menefee, Vishal Shah, and Courtney Carnes. The faculty advisor for the group is Dr. Andrew Konitzer, professor of Political Science.