Students from Suffolk’s International Affairs Association (SUIAA) recently spent a week in New York City, participating in the National Model United Nations (NMUN) conference. Facing more than 3,500 college students from around the world, the Suffolk students were divided into committees and served as delegates for Montenegro and France. At the end of the four-day conference, Suffolk received Honorable Mention.
Weeks of Research, Preparation, and Practice
Getting to NMUN took a lot of hard work. The students met regularly, often on the weekends, to discuss their committee topics and practice mock UN debates.
“We were lucky to have a really strong student leader, Andrea Gonzalez, who did the best job guiding us. And we were able to build strong relationships with each other as delegates,” said Hamza Hammad.
NMUN Kicks off in New York City
The students arrived in New York City with their adviser Myra Lerman, former assistant dean of the undergraduate program and director of the honors program at the Sawyer Business School.
The Suffolk delegates brought a unique global perspective with them. Most of them are international students, hailing from 11 different countries.
“Leading the group was a very important experience for me—it’s something that will be useful for me in my next job and my business career.”—Andrea Gonzalez
“Two months ago, I did not have the confidence to stand up in a room full of people and debate my points. Overcoming that challenge was the most valuable thing I took away from this experience."—Yazeed Abu-Ghazaleh
More than 3,500 Students Attended
“I was inspired by the whole experience. I feel like a better version of myself.”—Lintheara Seng.
Addressing Global Concerns in a Real-World Context
The conference provided a hands-on learning experience, where students honed their skills in diplomacy, negotiation, critical thinking, compromising, public speaking, writing, and research. These skills were critical as they developed alliances and resolution papers to address this year’s challenges, which revolved around economic and social issues, human rights and humanitarian affairs, peace and security, and development.
“The model UN taught me that politics and business are very intertwined,” said Daniel Ramirez Diaz.
Mariana Soto stressed the importance of being an effective communicator. “You really need to be assertive and have strong people skills—which are necessary for life, no matter what your major. You can’t be afraid to voice your opinion, otherwise no one will hear you,” she said.
Working into the Early Morning
For four consecutive days, the students attended general assembly from 8:00 a.m. until 11 p.m. And afterward, they spent a few hours debriefing, sharing experiences, and helping each other—sometimes until 1:00 in the morning.
“If you challenge yourself and surround yourself with people who are smarter than you, the sky’s the limit,” said Omar Hernandez.
Developing Solutions for Global Problems
“It was a fantastic experience. I truly believe the people we worked with are the future members of the UN and politicians of the world.”—Tim Brady.
Visiting the United Nations
On the last day of their trip, the students visited the United Nations headquarters for the closing ceremony.
Montenegro Takes Home Honorable Mention
Their hard work payed off. The Montenegro delegates were awarded Honorable Mention.
Experience of a Lifetime
“The experience changed my life. It was amazing; it was challenging; it was tiring, and to be honest, I’d love to do it again.”—Mariana Soto