VALDOSTA, Georgia — Two Valdosta State University students earned prestigious position paper awards at the 17th annual Florida Model United Nations conference in Gainesville.
Taylore G. Harrison of Hahira, Georgia, represented Kenya on the UN High Commission on Refugees committee, where she tackled closing the education gap of refugees and developing countries, as well as integration and resettlement of refugees into the economy.
Harrison’s paper was selected as the best of the entire conference, out of nearly 120 submissions. Conference organizers commended her writing quality, her writing style, and her ability to provide nuanced solutions to complex international challenges.
“This is my second semester doing Model UN,” she shared. “I was confident in my paper, but I didn’t expect to win an award, much less be recognized as the best paper of the entire conference. The entire experience was surreal.”
Harrison anticipates earning a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and Anthropology in May 2023.
“I love Model UN because it helps hone my collaboration skills,” she added. “Everyone at the conference comes with their own ideas and solutions, but by the end, we’ve banded together to solve those issues despite our differences.”
Mileena R. Page of Conyers, Georgia, represented Brazil on the UN General Assembly committee, where she addressed unprecedented hunger and food supply chain issues, as well as combatting the effects of war on the environment.
“This was my first time participating in Model UN,” she said. “It was very surprising to win this award because I didn’t expect it at all, but it was very exciting.”
Page anticipates earning a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and Anthropology and a Minor in Political Science in May 2023. Her favorite part about participating in Model UN is “the people and learning so much about international relations.”
Dr. Zachary A. Karazsia, assistant professor in the Department of Political Science and second-year faculty adviser for Model UN, shared how the program reflects VSU’s commitment to promoting a culture of excellence by fostering student success in and out of the classroom.
“Model UN is a certified experiential learning program,” he said. “It empowers students to build both hard and soft skills in a professional, academic setting. Students learn how to prepare formal speeches on important global topics, enhance their research skills, and develop and practice technical writing in the form of two-page position papers that are submitted to Model UN conferences. They also develop skills like negotiation, time management, extemporaneous speaking, situational awareness, intercultural communication, and confidence and team building. They do all this by participating in special simulations on international topics like climate change, hunger, poverty, war and pace, nuclear weapons, human rights, and much more.”
Model UN accepts students twice a year at VSU. It is offered as POLS 4440 in the fall and POLS 4442 in the spring. There are no prerequisites to either of these courses. However, students who wish to bolster their knowledge and confidence before joining Model UN are encouraged to register for INTL 2090: Introduction to International / Intercultural Studies.
“We welcome students from any academic discipline,” Karazsia noted. “We have had students from political science, sociology, anthropology, international business, organizational leadership, and other academic disciplines. Many of our delegates go on to attend law school or graduate school; others rely on their experiences in the corporate sector.
“Model UN is an internationally recognized organization and practice, one that lends itself to career opportunities and a global social network. Students who participate often build lifelong relationships with their fellow VSU students and peers from around the world.”
Six VSU Model UN students will travel to Kobe, Japan, Nov. 18-28 for an international conference where they will discuss matters of global importance while representing Albania and Belgium.
During Spring Semester 2023, VSU Model UN students will participate in a national-level event in New York City, where they will discuss current global issues in a real-world context while representing Jamaica.