Hunter Students on the World Stage
Three members of the Hunter College Model United Nations Team, juniors Katherine Salinas and Andrew Joyce and sophomore Eden Volkov, traveled to the Republic of Korea to participate in the 2011 annual Global Model United Nations Conference. The Hunter College delegation was chosen for the third consecutive year to join students from over 60 countries to be a part of the United Nations Department of Public Information's annual global conference. Hosted by the environmentally friendly city of Incheon, participants addressed this year's theme, "Sustainable Development: Advancing Human Progress in Harmony with Nature."
Delegates deliberated issues of environmental protection and development by assuming the roles of U.N. member states in the four committees of the U.N. General Assembly and the U.N. Security Council. Students were responsible for researching their represented countries' positions, making speeches, and drafting resolutions based on mutually agreed upon solutions to global issues regarding sustainable development.
Hunter delegates were chosen to represent the nations of India and Lesotho in the General Assembly's Special Political and Decolonization Committee. Reflecting on his time representing India, Joyce said, "I enjoyed the way in which the Global Model United Nations format allowed me to really assume the role of my country, letting me take hardened positions that reflected India's international policy. Ultimately I found that it exposed the reaches and potential of conciliatory diplomacy that exist within the real-world UN dialogue."
In addition, Co-Head Team Delegate Salinas was selected out of over 600 applicants to be an Official of the conference's Secretariat and was then elected by her peers as the only American at the conference to work alongside the U.N. staff as an official rapporteur. In her capacity as a leader of the First Committee of the General Assembly, Salinas oversaw the work of all its members, presided over plenary sessions and addressed the entire General Assembly in its final session. Salinas also played an integral part in organizing and conducting the conference, working closely with ranking members of the U.N. staff prior to and during the conference in order to make sure that delegates received the best Model U.N. experience. "The Model U.N. class, taught by Professor Pamela Falk, and the training for the Global Model U.N. is a life altering experience. The U.N. staff gave me first-hand knowledge of the work of the world body and introduced our delegation to the officials at the Conference," said Salinas.
When the Hunter students were not in committee, they participated in other enriching events attended by upper level U.N. and local government officials, including two meetings with the Secretary General of the United Nations himself, Mr. Ban Ki-moon and they met with the Mayor of Incheon.
Hunter College Model U.N. students relished their experiences after returning to New York before turning their attention to their next conference in Washington D.C. with the entire Hunter team. Eden Volkov, who represented Lesotho at the conference, summarized what she had learned from her time in Korea by saying, "Our generation has a pivotal role to play in upholding the goals of the U.N. in terms of sustainable development for the betterment of our generation as well as future generations to come."