Eight straight years of recognition for Model UN

Sonoma State's Model UN wins one of the most distinguished awards possible
April 9, 2018
Sonoma State's 2018 Model UN team // Photo by Cynthia Boaz

Sonoma State's 2018 Model UN team // Photo by Cynthia Boaz

For the eighth straight year, Sonoma State University’s Model United Nations team attended the National Model United Nations Conference in New York and came back with multiple awards. Competing against hundreds of other universities from across the country, Sonoma State won the Distinguished Delegation award, indicating the university’s performance was in the top 25 percent of attending schools.

“This award is recognition for all of the hard work that everyone in our delegation put in,” said Angie Alas, head delegate for Sonoma State’s Model UN. “It’s a roller coaster of a week and getting recognized for our efforts was really rewarding.”

The group earned a total of five awards including Best Position Paper in General Assembly Third Committee, three Outstanding Delegate awards and a Distinguished Delegation award. With a record 32 Sonoma State students participating in this year’s conference, most of them represented Iran, while two others served as China on the security council.

According to Cynthia Boaz, the faculty advisor for the university’s Model UN, the greatest challenge the team faced this year was the amount of first time participants that attended the conference, requiring their training to start from ground zero. Out of the 32 Sonoma State attendees, only 10 had ever been to NMUN.

“Most of the award-winning delegations are comprised of students who have competed at NMUN multiple times, but most of our students are first-timers,” said Boaz. “It’s challenging when we have a delegation that consists mostly of new students who have to learn everything from square one.”

Taking place from March 18-22, students had the opportunity to attend multiple seminars regarding the media’s role in international affairs, the refugee crisis and other topics concerning international relations. The student’s participation in all events leading up to the conference is credited to many hours of preparation beforehand.

“We spend months preparing in many different ways,” said Boaz, “Students learn about the country they’ve been assigned, their committees and topics and they learn about the history, structure and processes of the UN itself.”

However, according to Boaz, there is still improvements that can be made for future competitions, starting with maintaining Model UN veterans to help lead the new comers.

“One thing we can do to be even more competitive is to support our Model UN veterans in returning for a second, third or even fourth year,” said Boaz, “This reduces the energy we spend on teaching the basics and allows us to continue to develop our skill set.”

There is a course and club component for students wishing to join Model UN. Offered every Spring, applications for the course are accepted in October the preceding year. Students from all majors and programs are welcome, and any student interested should contact Professor Boaz.

"Model UN has been the most amazing experience of my college career thus far,” said Alas. “It has also allowed me to use the skills and knowledge I have learned in school and apply them in a real-world setting. I have also made incredible connections with everyone in Model UN and the experiences we share truly makes our class more like a family.”

-Nate Galvan