Bainbridge State Model UN Students attend their first international conference
In March, Bainbridge State College Model UN Club students participated in their first international conference.
From March 12-15, four students participated in the Canada International Model United Nations Conference (CANIMUN) in Ottawa, the capital of Canada. Japan and Ethiopia were among the countries represented at the conference, which was housed at the Ottawa Marriott.
Like all Model UN conferences, the CANIMUN is a model version of the United Nations, with students from each school representing various nations. While there, students deal with current international issues. Their ultimate goal is to create several resolutions.
Bainbridge State College students, Cassandra Williams and Jessica Knight represented Japan; while Alea Simmons and Zenil Patel were delegates for Ethiopia. Simmons served as Bainbridge State’s head delegate.
Faculty Model UN adviser and Associate Professor of History, Dr. Dave Nelson, accompanied the students to Ottawa. He was pleased with the students’ representation of Bainbridge State at the international conference.
He said, “For a couple of the students, this was their first time out of the country. And yet here they all were, not only successfully interacting with French and English speaking students, but also serving as some of the best prepared students at the conference.”
The professor added that the BSC students were the only Americans at the conference.
According to Nelson, not only was it the first international conference for the Model UN Club, but it was the first international conference for any students at the College.
“I hope this is just the first of many international conferences for the Club,” he said.
For the students, traveling to Canada for the Model UN conference was one of their best educational experiences while being college students.
It gave them the opportunity to network with students from other countries, while becoming globally aware of issues outside of the United States.
“I gained so much from this trip—both educationally and through networking,” said Alea Simmons. “Bainbridge State has provided me with so many opportunities and I made great connections with some very influential people in Canada—an opportunity I may have never had if it had not been for the College. This is a huge deal for the students’ future, especially if they want to go into Politics.”
According to Cassandra Williams, she has gained much knowledge from every Model UN trip—such as leadership skills and different perspectives.
She said, “I have learned a lot of leadership skills that I wouldn’t have learned without Model UN. I’ve met people from different countries and learned how they view things—which are so important. It has given me a different perspective on the countries represented at the conference.”
For Zenil Patel, the conference proved to be just as rewarding and educational as he had hoped.
“The people there were polite and very helpful. I gained a lot of knowledge and experience from it. At the Model UN Conference, I learned how to communicate and work with a diverse group of people. This is a great opportunity for Bainbridge State students because you will get to travel outside of the United State and learn about other places in the world.”
In past years, BSC students have travelled to conferences in Atlanta and New York City, where in 2014 they were awarded a Distinguished Delegation Award.
Nelson added, “The students have been invited to several other conferences, but unfortunately funds limit our travel capabilities.”
The BSC Model UN was founded spring 2012. As Nelson explained, the purpose of the Club is to familiarize students with international issues and relations, learn about their assigned countries, and to gain a better understanding of how governments and the United Nations operate.
As the students learned, creating consensus and getting things accomplished is actually a slow and difficult process.