Members of IVC team representing Sri Lanka at the National Model U.N.
At the National Model United Nations Conference in Washington D.C. last month, Irvine Valley College (IVC) swept the awards at the nationally competitive Model United Nations Conference, taking home not one, but two outstanding delegation awards – the highest honor bestowed.
Overall, IVC came in second among 61 schools, with a total of nine awards, including six policy research awards and a committee award for top delegate, in addition to the two outstanding delegation awards. IVC was the only community college to win the top designation.
IVC Model U.N. team president and student Nader Mehrdadi was quick to point out, however, that winning isn’t the point of Model U.N.
“The purpose of the conference is to build a bridge or a middle ground between you and the countries you’re working with,” Mehrdadi said. “There is no attack or debate in Model U.N. – it’s about diplomacy and working together.”
Preparation for the National Model U.N. begins long before the conference takes place. IVC students were assigned teams and countries and spend months researching and developing position papers on key issues, such as the impact of climate change on food security, or ensuring access to energy for all. This year IVC teams represented the countries of Sri Lanka and Vietnam.
At the conference, students simulate the workings of the actual U.N. by advocating and negotiating for the interests of their country. The conference provides a unique opportunity to develop students’ leadership, public speaking, negotiation and multicultural skills.
Nader Mehrdadi, IVC Model U.N. president (far left) with the IVC team at the National Model U.N. Conference
Mehrdadi is studying economics, with plans to work in global banking. One of the things he loves about the Model U.N. program is that it welcomes students from every major and many different interests.
“A lot of people have the misconception that to participate or get the most of our program, you have to be a political science major,” Mehrdadi said. “But just like the actual United Nations, it involves a diverse group of majors. No matter what you do in life, you’re going to work with other people, even when you don’t immediately agree. You need to learn to cooperate. That’s the most beneficial and applicable skill that the Model U.N. provides.”
Team leaders Nader Mehrdadi and Samantha Moore, IVC’s Model U.N. president and vice-president respectively, steered the IVC team to success by instilling the values of multilateral diplomacy embodied by the U.N. and providing hands-on training and mentorship to their teammates.
“We are really fortunate as a community college to have such great advisors that provide an environment where we’re able to flourish and stand against some very competitive schools and programs,” Nader said. “Being a part of Model U.N. guided me in a way – it wasn’t just the program – but also the advisors and my peers and fellow delegates who made me realize how much I would like to give back and help people in my future career.”
Besides that, he said, he now has meaningful relationships with friends all across the world.
The Model United Nations Conference was held Nov 9-11, 2018 and hosted over 60 schools and nearly 1,000 students. National Model United Nations (NMUN) is a U.S. 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that advances understanding of the United Nations and contemporary international issues. IVC hosts a local chapter.
In September, IVC also participated in the SoCal Model United Nations, held at Santiago Canyon College where 28 IVC students represented five countries and took home 8 awards, including every award in one of the three committees it participated in.