SUMUN recognized in New York
Suffolk honored with Distinguished Delegation award at U.N. conference
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Suffolk University’s Model United Nations (SUMUN) club competed at the National Model U.N. Conference in New York City this past week where they took home the Distinguished Delegation award, the conference’s second-highest award category.
This year the group represented Kazakhstan at the conference in which they performed mock exercises of the United Nations such as debating with other nations, and drafting and passing resolutions.
To determine the winner of the awards, committee chairs and moderators would take note of the countries they felt were best represented.
After thorough discussion by the committee chairs and moderators, the winning teams would be chosen, and awards presented during the closing ceremony. Last year Suffolk’s team represented Montenegro when they took home an Honorable Mention, or the third place award.
Nineteen Suffolk students traveled to the city to compete against 3,500 other students from colleges and universities across the United States.
Yazeed Abu-Ghazaleh, the soon-to-be-inaugurated president-elect of SUMUN enjoyed working alongside these students.
“It was very cool to meet such a diverse group of students, these were some of the hardest students to compete against, that I’ve ever met. It was quite a challenge to compete with them,” said Abu-Ghazaleh.
Suffolk students were constantly busy running between mock committee sessions, debriefings and team activities.
“New York was a long, exhausting, extremely tedious, but completely gratifying week,” said Abu-Ghazaleh.
Myra Lerman, the club’s advisor and former Assistant Dean of the Undergraduate Program and Director of the Honors Program at the Sawyer Business School witnessed the hard work the team put in throughout the week.
“It always is a grueling schedule, with little time for eating and sleeping, but everyone loved it, they always do. They always learn an enormous amount. It was quite an expansive opportunity,” said Lerman in an interview with The Suffolk Journal on Tuesday.
Their hard work and dedication paid off at the end of the week when the team was named the distinguished delegation.
Omar Hernandez, SUMUN’s current president, felt this award made all of the hard work done in preparation for this conference worth it.
“At that moment when they said ‘Suffolk University,’ and we got to stand up and be awarded, it was an incredibly special moment for me. I realized that everything we work for, all the hard work, the long nights, all of the extra studying that goes unseen because we don’t get a grade, it wasn’t for nothing. It was completely worth it,” said Hernandez in an interview with The Suffolk Journal on Tuesday.
On top of the award, SUMUN experienced some exclusive opportunities. The team met with Stephane Dujarric, the spokesperson for the United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. Suffolk’s team exclusively attended a press briefing and had a private question and answer session with Dujarric.
“It was entertaining, insightful and an experience we’ll never forget,” said Hernandez. The conference’s closing ceremony was held at the U.N. General Assembly Hall.
“It’s always refreshing, and there’s always strong energy when you walk into that room because that’s where history has happened and where it continues to happen. Some of my favorite political figures have stood at the podium there and have addressed that hall,” said Abu-Ghazaleh.
In today’s political climate, Lerman said she found the whole experience gave her a new hope for the future.
“What these students do gives me hope. They make me optimistic for a better future,” said Lerman. “I see these students behave respectfully with the countries they conflict with. They build relationships with them in order to solve issues. They create solutions to global problems in a conscientious manner. That is true diplomacy.”
Despite having only just returned, the team is already preparing for their next conferences, and look to place on top next year.