Vancouver student wins National Model UN video contest

By Kenna Caprio

June 6, 2017 Sometimes the big moments happen during the small ones — while flying home to Vietnam for the summer with his brother Van, Viet Truong found out that his video won the National Model United Nations (NMUN) video contest. Small, it turns out, really is beautiful.

“I got the idea for the movie after we met with the Samoan Permanent Mission to the United Nations,” says Truong, a junior and business administration major at Fairleigh Dickinson University’s Vancouver Campus.

In the 2017 competition, the group represented the Pacific island nation of Samoa.

At the end of the meeting with Samoan representative Aliioaiga Feturi Elisai, he said, “Small is beautiful.” The phrase stuck with Truong as the team navigated the NMUN conference — a small team from a small school representing a small nation. That, Truong realized, was his hook.

National Model UN 2017Armed with new filmmaking knowledge from a semester spent abroad at FDU’s Florham Campus, the brothers Truong set to work. Viet wrote the script; together he and Van co-directed the video.


The delegates for Samoa, all Vancouver Campus students, win the Distinguished Delegation award at National Model United Nations in March 2017. (Photos by Jobin Mojtabavi)


“Since this is a documentary, the writing happens in the edit. I finally started to string the clips together during the last week and a half before the deadline,” says Truong. The video flies through the NMUN experience, detailing every moment, and cutting back to interviews with the Vancouver participants.

Truong has been a member of the Model United Nations Club for two years. As a freshman and as a sophomore he traveled to New York City, N.Y., to compete in NMUN with his team. At NMUN, an annual competition, thousands of college and university students act as delegates in simulated United Nations committees, working together to write and pass resolutions.

Video entries must clock in between two and five minutes and describe the event, what teams do to prepare and what happens during and after the conference. Two winners received $1,000 prizes and two received $500 each. The awards are applied to delegate fees for the 2018 conference. The Vancouver team won $1,000.

The Vancouver delegation is usually small, says Truong. He’s thrilled that the $1,000 credit, and the Distinguished Delegation award the team won at the 2017 conference, could increase support for the club and allow more students to attend next year.

“NMUN is always a good chance for students to learn about different global issues and solutions, as well as meet intelligent peers from around the world,” says Truong.

After receiving word that the video won, Truong emailed the happy news to Representative Feturi. “Mr. Feturi was delighted to hear from us and was very appreciative of us representing the challenges and realities of Samoa. He asked if he could share the film with the Samoan Tourism Authority and other colleagues. I happily agreed. He ended the email with, ‘And remember, your future is in your hands, and yes, small is beautiful.’”