Students from PCC’s Model United Nations club attended a simulated U.N. conference as actual delegates in Las Vegas.”We were great,” said club founder and president Paulo Rodriguez.
“Early on at our meetings I stressed the importance of procedure. My delegates thought it was impractical, but in the end it paid off. I’m extremely happy with our performance,” he added.
Coming in the spring semester, PCC will be offering History 24G: Model United Nations, an experimental course which culminates in a Model United Nations conference, with students playing the roles of delegates and ambassadors from organizations and nations within the world body.
“Academics isn’t just about learning theories and writing essays with profound complex sentences, it is about negotiating with real people with real interests,” said history Professor Susie Ling.
“Model United Nations is about preparing a younger generation to learn how to negotiate in a real world on important international issues,” she added.
Participants learn about a specific country, studies several contemporary issues in international relations, and interacts with delegates from other colleges and universities in a weekend simulation of a U.N. conference as that country’s ambassador or foreign minister, according to class instructor and History Professor Emeritus of Occidental College Brice Harris.
“[Harris] is very intelligent and knowledgeable,” said conference veteran Julie Yoo. “He really has a passion for teaching.”
Rodriguez, an international and North African and Middle East studies major, gave high praise for 24G. “The practice of writing a short and concise essay in order to assert your position on a topic is a very valuable skill, and it is yet another reason that I’m glad I took this course.”
Rodriguez was so impressed with the course he went on to create the PCC Model United Nations club, which participated in the Nov. 19-22 Pan American Model U.N. Conference in Las Vegas.
The formal setting and tedious procedure took some getting used to for some of the newcomers. “I freaked out at first,” said first-timer, Nima Jalai-Ghajar, political science major.
“Then I started talking outside the committees and working with others on resolutions. It was fun.”
After shaking off the pre-conference jitters, the delegates were equally impressed.
“Now I am so confident,” said Sara Tavakilo. “[The conference] motivated me to work harder.”
“A few years ago, one of our star pupils said he didn’t sleep at the conference because he loved every minute of it,” said Ling. “He said that students talked politics from morning ’til morning. Everyone works hard and everyone learns a lot.”
Harris believes the class helps to prepare students for the future. “The skills are precisely those which PCC students will use in post-college jobs and volunteer activities,” he said.
Developing relationships with other delegates is another advantage students can take from the conference, especially the MySpace/Facebook era.
“At Model United Nations you really do make connections,” said Model United Nations club vice president and second-time conference attendee Nia Agus.
“My network is not just Pasadena and Diamond bar, it’s nation wide.
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