Richard Gieser and Dina Alhayek, political science majors at California State University, Long Beach (CSULB), received awards for their participation at the 2010 Santa Barbara International Model United Nations (SBIMUN) Conference held last fall on the UC Santa Barbara campus. It was the first time the proposed annual event had been held.
Gieser, a junior from Torrance, won his award for the Best Position Paper for the U.N. General Assembly Legal Committee. Alhayek, a senior from Buena Park, received an honorable mention for her performance as a delegate representing Kazakhstan. In all, 18 CSULB students participated in the SBIMUN Conference.
“Each delegate is assigned a country and a committee (in this case the U.N. General Assembly Legal Committee) and they prepare for their role by conducting research about their country and its foreign policy on the issues on the Legal Committee agenda,” said CSULB Political Science Professor Larry Martinez, who also serves as faculty advisor to the Model United Nations club and class.
“Richard’s position paper (submitted before the conference began) was judged the best to this large committee. Dina’s award was for her accurate portrayal of Kazakhstan’s foreign policy on legal issues,” Martinez added. “Both students showed that they could effectively integrate what they are learning in the classroom with this simulation of real-world diplomacy.”
For Gieser, his involvement in the Model United Nations conference at UCSB helped him understand the complications in the evolving international system.
“In our international environment where a word such as harmony seems laughable at best, organizations such as the United Nations give us a medium that allows our world to at least come somewhat closer to such a possibility,” said Gieser, the political science major with a double concentration of law, politics, and policy and global politics. “The SBIMUN conference can get pretty intense when you are debating and discussing resolutions with delegates who have self preferences for what they think is appropriate in regards to the nation they represent. It is thrilling to stay in character while trying to convince a group of 50-plus people, who have staunch opinions.”
Alhayek participated in the Bonn International Model United Nations in Bonn, Germany, with the CSULB Model U.N. team.
“SBIMUN was an awesome experience–it really helped me prepare for the Bonn International MUN Conference,” said Alhayek, the political science major with an emphasis in global politics and a minor in Middle Eastern studies. “Most of all, I absolutely loved testing out my diplomatic and networking skills to see how strong they are. It was amazing getting to meet and compete against delegates from all over California including USC, Berkeley, USD and Chapman and to win an award from amongst them as well as my CSULB peers.”
The CSULB Model United Nations Intercollegiate Team is a comprehensive academic and hands-on training program incorporating courses in international politics, international law, and politics and practice of the UN to prepare student delegates for award-winning participation in regional, national and international Model UN conferences. All CSULB students from any major can join and participate.