Students from Rochester Institute of Technology were recognized for their international solutions and delegation collaboration at the National Model United Nations Collegiate Conference in New York City. Kyle Adams and Cody Webb, members of the RIT delegation, won the Outstanding Position Paper Award, and the entire team was presented an Honorable Mention Delegation Award.
RIT was among 200 universities represented at the annual event this past spring participating in simulations of actual United Nations general session meetings and committee work toward solutions to global issues. Teams were assigned countries and participated in the conference, a simulation of the multiple committee meetings and general sessions related to decisions on human rights, economic development, peace, security and gender equality.
RIT represented the Syrian Arab Republic as part of its conference assignment. Earlier in the fall, the team of 11 undergraduates began researching its history, economic and developmental status as well as current events taking place in the country, in preparation for the spring event.
“As soon as we got Syria we knew it was going to require a lot of work due to the complex state the country was currently in,” said Shannon Strain, vice president of RIT’s Model UN Club. Working with James Myers, associate provost of international education and global programs, the club-team connected with classmates from Syrian who were attending RIT Dubai as a way to gain more information about life in Syria.
“The experience taught us about Syria that you cannot read about online,” she said.
That information would influence the different resolution papers they wrote during the event about many different global topics. Resolution papers are written by groups that are formed when the collegiate teams arrive on site, typically between countries that are allies in the real world or that share similar views, Strain explained. No prewritten work is allowed. The General Assembly committees focused on refugees and women; other committees came up with solutions relating to weapons of mass destruction and the impact of changing technology on wars. Position papers are then submitted to conference staff.
“The purpose of the position papers is to understand the topics that will be covered at the conference. The staff members of the National Model UN read over the papers and decided which are the best,” she said. “The papers are judged on the information presented and the ideas that the delegates come up with on their own. In Kyle and Cody’s paper about ‘Women in Development,’ they stressed that since the Syrian government is focused on rooting out ISIS they would need to look for other countries to help them. They referenced the Indian constitution, which grants equal rights to women, and suggested other countries do that same. In depth research and creative ideas were why RIT received the award for outstand position paper.”
Students from RIT have been attending Model UN conferences for several years, but this is the first time in recent history that they have won awards for their work, said Webb, club president.
“Going into the conference, we knew were well-prepared. But we never imagined we would win multiple awards. All of our members worked so hard throughout the year and the recognition is well deserved.”
RIT Model UN participants were Kyle Adams, Brian Williams, Nina Yang, Kyle Bansavage, Alex Besen, Taryn Brennan, Ben Evans, Alexander Borghetti Ferreira, Eric Iverson, Shannon Strain and Cody Webb. The team was sponsored by RIT’s B. Thomas Golisano College of Computing and Information Science, the Office of International Education and Global Programs, College of Applied Sciences and Technology, Government and Community Relations Office, Center for Multidisciplinary Studies, College of Imaging Arts and Sciences, Kate Gleason College of Engineering, the Center for Women and Gender, the Saunders College of Business, College of Liberal Arts, Office of the President, College of Science and Student Government.