Eight St. Thomas students travelled to Boston, Massachusetts to participate in the 2017 Harvard Model United Nations where they acted as delegates representing different countries alongside students from all over the world.
 
Student delegates represented an assigned country’s perspective in various committees over the course of the four-day event—an experience that exercises their skills in diplomacy while they work towards passing a resolution by the end of the last session.
 
Laud Hammond, Dominique Goguen, Leticia Leon de Gante, Erickson Miranda, Ali Ponte Ramirez, Adriana Rivas, Laura-Beth Bird, and Andrea Guvara attended on behalf of the St. Thomas Model United Nations class.
 
The course is part of the Political Science and International Relations programs. During first semester, students learn about the United Nations, international issues, and practice preparing working papers, motions, and strategies for effective conference participation. They put their knowledge into action during second semester.
 
Professor Stephanie McAnany is the faculty advisor for the course She said Model United Nations offers an exceptionally in-depth and hands-on experience.
 
“Attending Harvard's Model UN is intimidating, exhilarating, challenging, and a ton of fun,” McAnany said. “Students spend a great deal of time preparing, but they still learn almost everything experientially, in the moment, at the actual simulation.”
 
“Students hone their public speaking skills, put their knowledge of the UN and international relations to the test, and learn to better understand the tremendous challenges and opportunities within the UN system.”
 
New perspectives – Laud Hammond
 
This was third-year student Laud Hammond’s second time attending the Harvard-hosted event. Hammond represented South Sudan’s interest on an environmental committee last year and was part of the Historical General Assembly representing Liberia this year.
 
Hammond, from Accra, Ghana, said the opportunity to immerse himself in another country’s history and foreign policy required a shift in perspective.
 
“Participating in the HNMUN makes you realize how much the UN is committed their creating a first step to make the world a better place. By trying to do it yourself, you come to respect the efforts of world leaders and develop a whole new standpoint,” Hammond said.
 
“Last year, representing South Sudan gave me a chance to see some things from that country’s perspective, and this year being assigned Liberia gave me a new point of view to look at issues from.” 
 
To accurately represent Liberia in discussions, Hammond said he conducted a great deal of research on the country’s history.
 
“We had to make sure anything we said was in line with what was going on in the country at that time and what Liberia’s foreign policy looked like then.”
 
Hammond said the course teaches practical skills employers will be looking for such as critical thinking, people management, negotiations, and communications—skills he knows he will need in his own career.
 
Intense, exhausting, and super fun – Dominique Goguen
 
Third-year student Dominique Goguen from Fredericton plans to pursue international law when she graduates. She saw the class as an opportunity to learn more about international relations while developing skills in public speaking. 
 
“I’ve always wanted to participate in a Model UN, so when I learned there was a program here, I was super excited to apply. I saw it as a good step for me to get better at arguing in public, which would be good preparation for law school.”
 
Goguen represented Tajikistan on the Disarmament and International Security Committee along with fellow St. Thomas student Andrea Guevara.
 
She said student delegates worked from 9:00 am to 10 pm or later.
 
“People met after hours to work even more. You just kept working and working, but it was worth it,” she said. “The whole experience was amazing, intense, exhausting, and super fun.”
 
Learn more about International Relations at STU and APPLY for September 2017.