Vancouver students bring home record number of awards from National Model UN

By Sarah Cole

April 26, 2018 — Students from Fairleigh Dickinson University’s Vancouver Campus won three awards at the National Model United Nations (NMUN) conference in New York City, N.Y., in March. There, the students discussed international issues, competing against more than 1,000 peers from universities around the world.

The group represented Malawi, a country in southeastern Africa. The students visited the permanent mission of Malawi to the United Nations.

“The meeting room where we talked to Malawi Representative Lot Dzonzi gave me a strong feeling of connection,” says sophomore Qinghong Ma, who took home the award for Best Position Paper with her partner, junior Ana Cabrera. “Here is a man who represents a sub-Saharan African country, in the center of lower Manhattan, looking at a group of diverse young students trying to understand Malawi’s international relations, economy, politics, technology, immigration, women’s rights and most importantly its struggles and missions.”

Together, Ma and Cabrera’s position paper covered Women’s Empowerment in Government. The UN group wrote three other position papers on South and Triangular Cooperation, Climate Migration and Cybersecurity.

“Position papers were a crucial tool in our performance at NMUN,” says the club’s president, junior Eduardo Vega, who won the Outstanding Delegate award in his committee, the Commission on Social Development. “Through the process of writing the papers, we got to know our country’s positions, problems and proposed solutions. Without spending so much time on our position papers, we wouldn’t have been able to prepare so well for this year’s conference.”

For the opening ceremony, students sat in the General Assembly Hall at U.N. headquarters.

“It’s what I think being in the Hall of Justice would be like, a place for real-life diplomatic heroes,” says junior Paola Aguilar, who represented Malawi in the International Organization for Migration committee with her partner Vi Nguyen.

The entire team took home the Distinguished Delegation Award, the third year in a row for FDU Vancouver.

“I believe that the award is a great reflection of our ambition, hard work and amazing teamwork. We cherished our friendship,” says Nguyen, a sophomore.

“NMUN is definitely a learning experience, not only in public speaking and debating, but also in conflict resolution,” adds Vega. “It teaches you how to work with people from different backgrounds, with different ideas and opinions. It also builds leadership skills and is a global education on the world’s problems.”