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Model UN Conference hosted at Hofstra

By Samantha Neudorf (News Editor)

Students did not have to join the drama department to role-play as real-life diplomat characters.

The Hofstra Model United Nations club hosted its second annual Model UN Conference this past weekend with 11 high schools from Long Island and Brooklyn in attendance.

Problems addressed parallel those faced by the UN such as child labor, to piracy off the coast of Somalia, to women’s education around the world, according to Model UN advisor and political science professor Rosanna Perotti.

The high school students played the roles as diplomats from a particular country, and the Hofstra students led the committee sessions at the three-day conference.

The conference opened with words from Kingston Papie Rhodes, career diplomat of Sierra Leone. Jim McLay, New Zealand Permanent Representative to the UN, closed the conference.

"There are lots of problems you can't deal with individually. You've got to address them collectively," McLay said. "You've got to address them collectively either because one country simply can't provide the solution."

The conference included five committees: Social, Humanitarian and Cultural (SOCHUM), Historical Crisis, Future Crisis, Special Political and Decolonization Committee (SPECPOL), and Disarmament and International Security Committee.

Sophomore Tim Lachapelle led the Historical Crisis Committee. Delegates looked through history of President John F. Kennedy and his policies during the Cuban Missile Crisis and the Cold War. Lachapelle was honored to be chair for this committee.

"I played the part of JFK and all of the committee members played the part of his cabinet, and even though it wasn't real and we were playing the scenario of the Cuban Missile Crisis out, it felt real to us,” Lachapelle said. “We made important, rash, sometimes wrong decisions, and we learned from them each time, which I thought couldn't be better."

Mohamed Khelif, junior at the High School of Telecommunication Arts and Technology (HSTAT) in Brooklyn, was a member of the Historical Crisis committee and enjoyed the experience.

"It [helped] me develop better decision making skills, given in a time of crisis. Let's say there's an emergency—it'll help me make faster and quicker decisions to develop a plan or best course of action of what to do," Khelif said.

Amanda Riiska, senior from Kellenberg High School in Uniondale, attended the conference at Hofstra last year. She intended on graduating from high school as a history major and now has second thoughts after this conference.

"I think I might have to seriously consider a political science type of career," Riiska said. She aims to carry her experiences from the Model UN conference into the real world.

"I think I've learned that I can be confident in Model UN and in other things because usually I'll shy back from doing anything, and we actually got a working paper passed," Riiska said. "I feel like it's given me a better understanding of self worth."

Alex Dobrecevic, Undersecretary General and senior economics major, was pleased with how the conference ran after planning everything since last May.

“Overall the conference was amazing. The students had so much fun, they got entirely involved,” Dobrecevic said. “Everyone who was planning it, we've put in so much hard work for this whole year that we couldn't have asked for it to go any better.”

Sarah Sicard, Secretary General this weekend and junior print journalism major has been to a total of 12 conference in her life as both a delegate and committee chair. Each conference left a positive imprint on her debate career.

“I've been doing this for a very long time and it's so much more than a debate club,” Sicard said. “…You meet some of the most interesting people, you learn about other cultures, and that's really what I think is important about this whole event."

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