The Irvine Valley College Model United Nations (MUN) program overcame the learning and logistical challenges posed by the pandemic to have another outstanding semester, winning a total of 16 awards at two conferences. Students developed transformational leadership skills by learning how to negotiate and engage with students from around the country and world in a virtual environment. They mastered complex information in new formats, innovated collaboration techniques, and creatively developed solutions to a number of pressing and timely global problems, such as the rights of protestors, halting biodiversity loss, and promoting gender equality in entrepreneurship, amongst others.
From October 24 to 25, students participated in the College of the Canyons Model United Nations conference virtually, competing against 100 delegates from 15 colleges and universities from around the country and Colombia. Representing 17 countries, students won a total of six awards in five committees.
From November 6 to 8, the team participated in the National Model United Nations Conference, where they won eight awards for skillfully representing Ecuador and Kenya on five committees. Eleven students persisted through a grueling three days of online competition, sitting in front of their computer screens for 10 to 12 hours a day, to win the top awards of Outstanding Delegation for both countries as well as five-position paper awards and an Outstanding Delegate award. The team competed against almost 650 students from over 40 colleges globally and placed in the top 5% of those in attendance.
Although the recognition of excellence bestowed by the awards is a great honor, the real reward lies in the personal and academic growth opportunities that this experience provides. Student delegates participating at MUN conferences have the unique opportunity to develop leadership, public speaking, negotiation, and multicultural skills.
As stated by returning team member Tomas Castro, “I could not have been prouder to participate in IVC’s Model United Nations program during this historic semester. Each conference is a unique opportunity in itself to learn about global issues, but this year I was honored to be part of the IVC team as we overcame a pandemic and still managed to bring forth our penchant for diplomacy, negotiation, and problem-solving.”
According to IVC MUN President Bryant Larson, “Model United Nations has taught me that true leadership, just like in the international system, is about inclusivity and about making sure everyone's ideas are heard, which I have been able to refine over the three semesters that I have been a part of this program.”
Prior to attending the conference, IVC MUN students developed position papers on key issues such as the financial inclusion of underserved communities and confidence-building measures in the field of conventional arms, among others. At the conference, students simulated the workings of the actual UN by advocating and negotiating for the interests of their country in committee meetings. Additionally, by engaging with students from different countries, IVC MUN student delegates work across cultural and linguistic differences, experiencing a multicultural learning opportunity like no other.
The following students participated in the conferences: Aryan Agahi, Diego Beltran, Tomas Castro, Amulya Chava, Sarah Cortez, Joyce Hahn, Ethan Knoll, Bryant Larson, Haley Luong, Melody Mirghavameddin, Sarah Nishioka, Gabriela Pinho DeMoraes, Arman Raeisian Nejad, Zain Raja, Jagjoban Singh, Davit Tadevosyan, and Jadon Wong. Congratulations to all!