15 Students Participate in 2016 National Model UN Conference
By Emily Hollenbach ’18
From March 27-31, 2016, fifteen Marist students
from Dr. Juris Pupcenoks's Model United Nations
class joined over 5,000 students from the U.S. and
around the world for the annual National Model
United Nations Conference in New York City. The
students, who enrolled in the class via a competitive
selection process, represented Tajikistan. In addition,
Austin Flack '18 and Giovanni Gonzalez '18 repre-
sented Lithuania in the mock UN Security Council.
This was the second consecutive year Marist
students took part in the event, which provides
hands-on experience in diplomacy and negotiation.
The Marist group went to the conference with a strong understanding of the United Nations committee system and processes, parliamentary procedures, diplomacy, public speaking, resolution writing, and position paper research. Before the conference,
delegates learned about Tajikistan’s committee background and domestic and foreign policies. Each student independently
researched and prepared to represent Tajikistan’s position on a mock United Nations committee at the National Model UN (for the highlights, see this brief YouTube video created by one of the students).
Students found the experience stimulating and enlightening. Bridget Sheerin ’18,
who worked on the United Nations Environmental Program, recalls that “In just
five days, I was able to speak in front of my committee, contribute to substantive
working papers, and collaborate with new friends in the process. Our time
formulating working papers paid off when my committee was able to pass ten
resolutions.” For Zachary Pranger ’18, the conference’s value lay in the exposure
he gained to other cultures. “As someone who has never traveled outside the U.S.,
it was amazing to work with individuals from around the world. We all came
together to represent our assigned countries and to solve real world issues."
Even as a freshman, Kathleen Larkin ’19 wanted to improve her basic public-speaking skills and applied for the class: "I knew going into this course that it would be rigorous. But I wanted to exercise my public speaking in a challenging class. I worked for the
General Assembly committee of the United Nations and made incredible friends from all around the world. I feel more confident in
my ability to speak than I ever thought possible! This is certainly the most rewarding experience that I’ve had at Marist thus far.”