Model UN Cultivates Globally Engaged Students

For the third consecutive year, a team of HIU students participated in the Harvard National Model United Nations conference. The four-day conference ran from February 14 – 17 and boasted an attendance of 3,000 students from colleges and universities representing more than 40 nations. This year, HIU represented the country of Cambodia.

Dr. Roberto Sirvent, Associate Professor in the College of Arts & Sciences, has been a strong proponent of the conference since he attended a college Model UN at Berkeley as a high school AP government student. “By examining various lenses for viewing and understanding the world around them, our students are challenged to test their own assumptions about faith, politics, and the world that God loves,” said Sirvent. “A Christian liberal-arts education centers on cultivating engaged, reflective, and faithful citizens of the world. The Model UN program is critical in accomplishing this task at HIU.”

The conference format consists of delegations working to have their positions heard by presenting persuasive arguments before a large committee, or by creating resolutions with other delegations to present jointly to the committee.

This year’s delegation comprised 15 of HIU’s top students: Jacob Austin, McKenzie Austin (BA ’13), Jordan Escoto, Thomas Kleinendorst, Hillary Lamont (BA ’13), Lindsey Miller (BA ’13), Judy Nzeki (BA ’13), Agnes Park, Kasey Philyaw (BA ’13), Kyley Rouse (BA ’13), David Scotti (BA ’13), Jesse Shepherd (BA ’13), Kristi Salmeron Meneses, Maria Watkins (BA ’13), and Grace Walkman.

Joining the team were faculty advisors Dr. Steve Edgington, Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences, and Sirvent. Three HIU and Model UN alumni also accompanied the group: Neil Baker (BA ’12), Heather Hicks (BA ’11), and Ryan McKinney (BA ’11).
Students reported that the conference was highly impactful. “Being a part of the Model UN team meant the world to me, literally,” Philyaw said. “It meant meeting and working with people from schools all around the world. To represent HIU among Ivy League schools such as Brown, University and Yale was the most confidence-building and humbling experience of my life. It was truly life-changing.”

Next year (2013-14 academic year), the University will be participating in the Yale Security Council Simulation. This conference and the Model UN conference will be available in alternating years. Such opportunities provide HIU students with a rich and diverse learning environment where they can not only create lifelong memories, but also engage in experiential learning that will last even beyond their years at Hope.

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