Seton Hill University’s Model United Nations team received an Honorable Mention Delegation Award for their work representing the country of Belize at the recent Model United Nations Conference in New York City.
The eight students, Matthew Comito, a senior business administration major from Irwin, Pa.; Carrie Ellis, a sophomore political science and global studies major from Ligonier, Pa.; Mark Nealon, a freshman pre-law/political science major from Moscow, Pa.; Paris Szalla, a freshman political science and global studies major from Cheswick, Pa.; Rodrigo Contreras, a freshman political science and communication major from Dallas, Texas; Matthew Alexander, a freshman pre-law/history and political science major from Graceton, Pa.; Ariana Venero-Rodriguez, a freshman global studies major from Miami Gardens, Fla.; and Gina Scarsellato, a sophomore sociology major from McMurray, Pa.; had immersed themselves in the culture and politics of the Central American nation of Belize beginning last fall as they prepared to represent the nation at the Model UN conference.
The students won the Honorable Mention Delegation Award for their excellent negotiation and diplomacy skills during their Committee work. Students work in Committees at the conference to negotiate agreements on human rights and common security issues with delegates representing other countries. Topics included facilitating urban development and youth engagement in environmental sustainability, organizing aid for migration and refugee crises, limiting the use of chemical warfare between countries, and eliminating religious intolerance.
“The Model United Nations program continues to grow since its beginnings in 2016, and the Honorable Mention Delegation Award our students received is evidence of how engaged they are in the experience and how diligently they worked to prepare for Model UN,” said Roni Kay O’Dell, assistant professor of political science and Model UN advisor. “This experience truly provides Seton Hill students with a global perspective and the importance of working with others to form a consensus on problems impacting people around the world.”
The Model United Nations held each spring at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City is a simulation of the United Nations in which college students practice diplomacy, communication, negotiation, research and writing skills. The simulation lasts four days and mirrors the United Nations committees that meet in New York every fall to collaborate and coordinate over issues of international concern.
“Model UN was easily one of the best and most worthwhile experiences of my freshman year in college,” said Mark Nealon. “I learned a lot about working with people that are culturally different and was able to work together towards a common goal to better the world. I also learned more about how difficult it is to stabilize the world with all different kinds of people in it, and I have a lot of admiration for the real leaders in the United Nations for being able to try and make the world a better place with tireless work each and every day.”
“The Model UN created an environment where my peers and I could share ideas, and respectfully critique and build upon each other's ideas with differing perspectives in order to create solutions that satisfied all,” said Carrie Ellis. “I've always been one to wonder why policy takes so long to create, but now I know how complex it becomes when so many voices are trying to be heard. As someone interested in pursuing political or foreign affairs, and possibly working with the UN directly in the future, this experience was extremely valuable to me. “
Added Matthew Alexander: “Model UN offered me the opportunity to meet students from various universities all over the world. With many long hours under our belt, we managed to develop resolution papers to address many of the problems we face as global citizens.”