The Model United Nations (MUN) class at California State University, Dominguez Hills won top honors at the regional Model United Nations Conference, held at Santa Barbara City College from March 31 to Apr. 2. This year 35 students from CSU Dominguez Hills represented 12 countries, including the United States, France, Turkmenistan, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia.
Hamoud Salhi, assistant professor of political science and adviser of the MUN class, led his students to distinguished honors at the conference, including those who were recognized as Best Delegates: Gregory Jacobs, Turkey, UN General Assembly; Gloria Lopez, United States, UN General Assembly; Keith Banks, Saudi Arabia, UN Economic and Social Committee; and Alvin Gutierrez and Amber Ali, Counsels, Serbia and Kosovo, International Court of Justice.
“Our students incorporate all aspects of political science courses into preparing for this conference and have always exceeded expectations because of their hard work and dedication,” says Salhi. “They dedicated long hours of preparation which was reflected in their strong participation in committees and winning the awards. This group did particularly well because of their passion for CSU Dominguez Hills; they wanted to keep the tradition going.”
Lopez was selected as Under Secretary General position for next year’s MUN conference. She will join CSU Dominguez Hills alumna Kulani Walker (Class of ‘10 B.A., political science), who was chosen for to serve again as UN Secretary General at next year’s conference.
“It’s a lot of work during the year,” says Walker, who has been preparing for MUN since the fall semester. “But when you witness the enthusiasm of students and the impact that the conference has on them, it feels good to be a part of it.”
For three days, students from throughout the Western MUN region debated, researched, drafted, and passed resolutions on a variety of topics, including the current crisis in Libya, the unilateral declaration of independence of Kosovo, bridging the digital divide, ownership of the Internet, and violence against women. The delegates participated in five committees: the United Nations Security Council, the International Court of Justice, the General Assembly, the United Nations Economic and Social Committee, and the United Nations Environmental Program. MUN is a regular class offered by the political science department during the spring semester each year, and is designed to train students in the art of diplomacy, including public speaking, debate, negotiation, and consensus building.
CSU Dominguez Hills was the only institution to win five of the 11 awards presented to students with the most outstanding performance at the conference, the third time in the last four years that the university has received this distinction.
Gutierrez says that the MUN experience has inspired him to earn an advanced degree toward a career in policy.
“It’s the closest we can get to being in a real world situation,” he says. “It taught us negotiation and compromising on ideas. All this experience has set me on obtaining my Ph.D. in political science.”
For more information about the political science department at CSU Dominguez Hills, click here.