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York College of PA Celebrates 30 Years at National Model United Nations

May 24, 2022
UN Nations Students
York College's Model UN group met with Canadian diplomat Timothy Kilbourn, Counsellor in Permanent Mission of Canada to the United Nations.

York College students have participated in the National Model United Nations (NMUN) Conference for 30 years. Students first participated as a club, but now the experiential learning opportunity is offered as part of a Political Science course titled International Organizations.

The mission of the NMUN, a nonprofit organization, is to advance understanding of the United Nations and contemporary international issues. According to its website, the NMUN positively affects the lives of participants and prepares them to be global citizens through quality educational experiences that emphasize collaboration and cooperative resolution of conflict. “We envision a world compromised of civically engaged people who strive for peaceful, multilateral conflict resolution and equitable, sustainable human development.” 

The guiding principle of the NMUN’s programs – cooperative, hands-on experiential learning – correlates well with York College’s own commitment to experiential learning. “Our programs provide a diverse group of informed students and their faculty advisors a forum for addressing global concerns in a real-world context. Conferences address important issues including regional conflicts, women and children, peacekeeping, human rights, economic and social development, and the environment. Our goal is to provide a better understanding of the inner workings of the UN as students build skills in diplomacy and compromise.”

York College students represented Canada during this year’s program in New York City. In past years, they have represented countries including Netherlands, Pakistan, Japan, DR Congo, and Australia.

“We were able to meet with Canadian diplomat, Timothy Kilbourn, Counsellor in Permanent Mission of Canada to the United Nations during the mission briefing time,” said Sarah Li, NMUN Advisor and Associate Professor of Political Science. “He even mentioned this meeting with the College delegates in his tweet.” 

Each year the registration starts in fall and the conference happens at Easter time, according to Li. “This way, students are able to utilize the spring semester to prepare for the simulation,” she said. “We usually take a local bus to travel between NYC and York. Last year, we couldn't go because of pandemics; this year students are excited to attend the conference in person.”

What did students gain from this experience?

“Throughout the International Organizations course, I gained a deep understanding of how the United Nations meeting works,” said Jay Hynes, a junior political science major from Marietta, Pa. “My committee was the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND), and I gained a deep understanding of how Canada, in specific, wishes to tackle the new and emerging challenges of the synthetic drug trade, while also keeping human rights focus on the forefront of the cause. I learned that Canada has a bigger hand in the fight for decriminalization of cannabis and the rehabilitation of drug-related offenses than the United States does. In a lifelong sense, Model UN taught me how to effectively communicate with delegates across the world with beliefs across the spectrum to come to a strong cohesive solution to address a global issue.”   

Other students who attended Model UN this year: Cassidy L. Finnerty, junior Intelligence Analysis major from Middle River, Md.; Patrick R. Gill, senior Political Science major from Feasterville Trevose, Pa; Michelle Ildefonso-Ruelas, junior Political Science major from York; Raquel A. Jaoude, senior Political Science major from Whitehall, Pa.; Alison R. Kaufman, senior Political Science major from Claremont, N.H.; Emily R.  Newton, junior Political Science major from North Smithfield, R.I.; Nitzi Salinas-Gaitan, senior Intelligence Analysis major from York; and Natalie A. Simmerman, senior Human Resource Management major from Mullica Hill, N.J.