Concordia Model United Nations takes Washington

Eight Concordia students took time off from their busy school schedules to act as diplomats at the thirtieth annual National Collegiate Security Conference (NCSC XXX) hosted by Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.

“Conferences like these have allowed me to see students reap the benefits of an extracurricular activity that gives them knowledge, friends and invaluable experiences,” said Benoit Charron, president of Concordia’s Model UN (CONMUN) club.

This is the fifth consecutive year that CONMUN has sent delegates from Concordia to participate in the NCSC conference, held from Oct. 17 to 20 at Washington’s Crystal Gateway Marriott hotel.

Delegates from 36 schools across the United States and Canada were divided into 12 committees. Concordia took part in six: Chinese Politburo, Hungarian Cabinet, Joint Crisis Soviet Presidium 1962, Mexican Cabinet, UN Security Council and General Assembly.

“It was my first model UN conference and I gained a lot from it,” said Isma Rechoum, a second year political science student at Concordia. “I hope to pursue a diplomatic career and this conference has given me some insight and experience into the professional realm of international relations.”

For four days, Concordia students behaved in the same manner as ambassadors and diplomats from UN member states would. They made an effort to present their position papers, attend meetings on time and dress in formal business attire.

Model UN conferences rely on authentic simulations of present day events to teach students how complex international issues are handled at the UN. During committee sessions, delegates are required to use their country’s foreign policy, when attempting to negotiate a compromise with other states.

“Participants learn to fine-tune their problem solving, public speaking and decision making skills when they take part in a conference,” said Charron, explaining that CONMUN has managed to grow into a leading Canadian school in the model UN circuit, winning 38 awards in the last three years.

This year, CONMUN plans to send delegates to conferences in Montreal, Ottawa, Virginia and Germany. Adequate preparations for a conference involves researching the assigned country’s foreign policy, culture, economy, geography and history.

“Fundraising is an integral part of our club because of the nature of our conferences. No matter how low the conference fee is, it can still pose a burden on the club,” said Chris Da Rocha, Concordia head delegate at NCSC and VP administration of CONMUN.

CONMUN will be holding various fundraising events within the next month, starting with an upcoming party. The money raised will allow a greater number of students to participate in the conferences at a minimal fee.

There are 20 active members in CONMUN this year, but the club is looking to increase its membership. Anyone keen on joining can attend a meeting held at room H-820 every Monday evening at 8:30 p.m.

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