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Westfield State University International Relations Club attends Model U.N. simulations

Fourteen Westfield State University students traveled to a Model United Nations simulation at McGill University in Montreal, Quebec, Canada in January. Accompanied by Political Science Professor Brian Steinberg, Ph.D., this is the first of three simulations the Club will attend this semester.

The McGill Model United Nations brought together over 1,400 future diplomats, politicians and activists from Canada, the United States and abroad. There, delegates had the opportunity to test their debating skills in 26 simulated committees. Negotiations included simulations of the 1992 Rio Earth Summit, where issues of global climate change and environmental policy will be on the agenda, a meeting of the U.N. Peacebuilding Commission, accession talks between Turkey and the European Union, and a committee on the Balkans crisis of the late 1990s.

At these simulations students learn a variety of skills while gaining useful experience. “Through International Relations Club I have come to realize that this is what I want to do with my life,” said Rhynell Christopher, a senior from Lancaster, Mass. “I eventually want to work for the U.N. These simulations are pushing me to learn a new language, to be culturally aware, to think critically, to be flexible with outcomes, and to be proud that I come from two different cultures. This experience has helped me grow and become more immersed in other cultures.”

A member of the International Relations Club for three years, Aaron Sylvia, a senior from Lakeville, has gained much confidence from his experiences. “These simulations have taught me to use all of my skills and allowed me to meet people from all over the world. These simulations have been the most inclusive and unifying experiences I have had at Westfield State.”

The last two simulations will take place this week at Harvard University (February 15–18) and at the United Nations in New York City (March 25–29).