CSULB political science students receive awards at Model UN conference

Two Cal State Long Beach students captured honors after getting into heated debates with other schools at the recent Santa Barbara Intercollegiate Model United Nations Conference.

“It is essentially a large role-playing event that tests and advances your diplomatic abilities, while dealing with contemporary international events,” political science major Richard Gieser said.

Gieser and political science major Dina Alhayek received awards for fighting for their countries’ resolutions at the inaugural two-day Model United Nations conference, held by University of Santa Barbara students.

“[The event] was an excellent experience and success, although it was the first time the students at UC Santa Barbara hosted such a conference,” said Sonny De Vera, senior political science and German studies major, who is on the CSULB Model United Nations advisory board.

Gieser represented Estonia and received the Best Position Paper award. Alhayek represented Kazakhstan and received an honorable mention.

“Richard’s position paper was judged the best to this large committee,” said Larry Martinez, political science professor, who serves as faculty advisor to the CSULB Model United Nations club and class. “Both students showed that they could effectively integrate what they are learning in the classroom with this simulation of real world diplomacy.”

Gieser said it was an honor to have the best position paper out of about 60 students from universities across California. The event helped him understand the complications in the evolving international system.

He added that it was important that he immersed himself into the views and goals of Estonia.

“I would read speeches by actual Estonian representatives, and Estonian diplomatic history,” Gieser said. “With the accumulated information, I prepared a position paper that any Estonian representative would agree with.”

Alhayek’s award was for her accurate portrayal of Kazakhstan’s foreign policy on legal issues.

“I absolutely loved testing out my diplomatic and networking skills to see how strong they are,” Alhayek said.

Alhayek said her experience at the conference will be beneficial for her and the CSULB team’s participation in the Bonn International Model United Nations in Bonn, Germany from Nov. 29 to Dec. 3.

Model United Nations participants, or delegates, from schools all over California, which included Chapman University, UC Berkeley and USC dressed in business attire and competed in the conference that focused on the possible reform of the U.N. Security Council.

“What stood out was how eager everyone there was to get involved,” Gieser said about the event. “I suppose the desire for reform of the Security Council was a consensus most members were in favor of, which relaxed the environment to petty major differences.”

The conference both divided and united student delegates to become one step closer to achieving world consciousness.

Gieser said, “In our international environment where a word such as harmony seems laughable at best, organizations such as the United Nations give us a medium that allows our world to at least come somewhat closer to such a possibility.”


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