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BSC students take part in nationally attended Model UN Conference for first time
BIRMINGHAM, Ala.—Three students from Birmingham-Southern College competed for three days at the 23rd annual Southern Regional Model United Nations Conference (SRMUN) held in Atlanta Nov. 15-17. Nearly 700 students from 53 U.S. colleges and universities participated in the conference.
The students who represented BSC were: Ana Lejava, a senior political science and dance double major from Tbilisi, Republic of Georgia; Altynai Ibraimova, a sophomore international business major from Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan; and Dunya Habash, a freshman international studies major from Birmingham.
BSC’s team represented Bosnia and received an Honorable Mention after a number of simulations of United Nations’ committees and other international governing bodies, including the General Assembly Plenary, Food and Agricultural Organization, and the International Atomic Energy Agency.
The students employed a variety of communication and critical thinking skills to represent the nation and policy of Bosnia. These skills included public speaking, group communication, research, policy analysis, active listening, negotiating, conflict resolution, note taking, and technical writing.
“This was Birmingham-Southern’s first time sending a delegation to the conference,” noted Debra McLafferty, BSC department of education certification officer and team liaison. “It was a fantastic opportunity for students interested in politics and international relations to participate in a first rate simulation of the United Nations. “They not only got a taste of the challenges faced by diplomats in writing and passing resolutions, but also developed creative pathways for maneuvering around and through protocol limitations.”
The college’s Student Government Association helped fund the students’ travel.
“All of us were honored to be the first BSC ambassadors to attend this important educational event of the year,” said Lejava, who served as team leader. “We experienced the authentic process of diplomacy and engaged in intellectually motivating, healthy competition between the delegations to achieve the greater consensus for the greater good.”
Model United Nations is an academic simulation of the UN that aims to educate participants about current events, topics in international relations, diplomacy, and the UN agenda. Participants research a country, take on roles as diplomats, investigate international issues, debate, deliberate, consult, and then develop solutions to world problems.
“We were thrilled to have Birmingham-Southern attend the 23rd annual SRMUN conference,” said SRMUN Secretary-General Reggie Thomas. “The conference is successful because schools like BSC value the importance of a Model UN curriculum at their college and invest significant amounts of time preparing a new generation of leaders who will tackle the world’s challenges.”
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