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Developing Diplomacy

May 3, 2018

 

DESTIN SHIMER

Staff Reporter | dcs033@latech.edu

 

Members of Louisiana Tech’s Model United Nations represented the university at a national MUN conference in Los Angeles. – Photo courtesy of Stormi Verret

 

Just two years after its establishment, Louisiana Tech’s Model United Nations Club competed at a national level at an MUN conference in Los Angeles, California.

 

The group left Ruston April 19 to attend the competition, which took place from April 19 to April 22. The Los Angeles Model United Nations is an annual conference hosted by University of California at Los Angeles, and this year’s session was their 13th annual convention. The purpose of this convention was to offer a dynamic experience to collegiate MUN members to prepare them for a future in government delegation.

 

“I think that knowing we have the ability to compete nationally — since this is only our second year of existence at Tech -— is a testament to the students’ dedication and their desire to see Model UN become a long-lasting institution at the university,” said Amanda Sanford, a professor of political science and chaperone of the trip. “I hope the MUN at Tech continues to grow and that this conference attracts new students to us.”

 

Sanford said though the group does not yet have plans to attend next year’s conference, they do intend to seek out and compete in other national conventions as well as regional contests.

 

“While I don’t know that we will plan to attend the LAMUN every year, I do know that we intend to attend a national conference of this caliber every year, and we will probably try to attend a regional conference at least once a year as well,” Sanford said.

 

Zach Rogers, a freshman cyber engineering major and MUN team member, said he was pleased with the way the club performed at the convention and was happy for the opportunity to travel with his team.

 

“Even though this was our first conference, everyone seems to have done well,” Rogers said. “We all met a lot of delegates in our community, and we got to explore Los Angeles.”

 

Because this conference intends to mimic the true process of UN deputation, difficulties in delegation often arise.

 

Alex Gras, a senior political science major and a member of Tech MUN, said this convention opened his eyes to the true challenges of attaining success within the thick bureaucracy of the UN.

 

“I’ve learned a lot about how difficult it is for countries to get things done in the UN,” Gras said. “That’s given me a newfound respect for diplomats working in that capacity.”

 

Stormi Verret, secretary of Tech’s MUN and a sophomore English and Spanish major, found this conference as an opportunity for their club to really flex their muscle as an organization for the first time.

 

“I think this trip was really successful,” she said. “This group of people not only worked well together, but were also able to perform well within the convention committees. Even our new members were able to hone their public speaking skills and learn more about domestic and international issues.”

 

Verret said she also saw the convention as a way to solidify a spirit of professional camaraderie within the club and to attain bit more attention for their group on campus.

 

“The interdisciplinary makeup of our team stimulated interesting conversation both in and out of the committee sessions,” she said. “I think this experience helped us grow as a team and we’re all looking forward to attending more conferences–hopefully with an even larger team — in the future.”

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