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ETBU uses Chile perfectly at U.N.

By Joe Holloway
Nov. 28, 2012 at 10 p.m.

The Model United Nations team at East Texas Baptist University was awarded the "Outstanding Delegation Award" during its recent trip to Chicago for the American Model United Nations Conference.

Dr. Israel Nandamudi, a professor of political science at ETBU, said he's been taking students to this and similar conferences since 2004, but that this was the highest honor an ETBU delegation had received.

"We always get a couple certificates for writing position papers and participating but this is the greatest recognition that we have received," he said. "We usually get those because our kids are really good at writing, but this is the most important one."

Heather DeVille, a senior at ETBU and the head delegate for the model UN team this year, said the conference was a wonderful experience.

"This was my second time to go," she said. "The first year it was more about figuring everything out, but this year I was really able to focus on the conferences and delegating."

Of the 194 countries in the actual United Nations, 124 were represented at the American Model United Nations Conference.

DeVille said that can make for a crowded environment.

"We're at a conference with over 200 people in your committee because you have over 100 countries represented and each country has two people representing them," she said. "It's super crowded. There's a lot of ivy-league schools there, a lot of D-1 schools there."

Even so, ETBU was able to take home the award.

"The whole goal of it is to come to a consensus on certain topics and issues the world is facing and to come together and delegate and come to a mutual agreement," said DeVille. "This year, having that in mind, in order to win the outstanding delegation award, you have to be someone that really stands out, helps writes the resolutions and documents. You have to be someone who goes up and speaks and asks questions, and really just stands out as someone who really works well with a variety of different countries."

The country each team represents is decided by a lottery system the year before. This year ETBU represented Chile.

"Chile isn't one of the countries that you initially think of when you think of the United Nations, but I think we were able to represent Chile well," said DeVille. "It's a pretty cool country."

Nandamudi said there's a great deal that goes into representing a country.

"First of all, they need to know about the country they are representing," he said. "For Chile, they had to know about the geography, the economy. You name it, they had to know about it, because they are representing Chile. This is not only speaking in front of people. It's not like debate. They have to also write and pass resolutions. It's a combination of everything. You have to use your diplomacy, your negotiation skills, communication skills, and your writing skills also."

Next year, ETBU will get to represent a temporary member of the UN Security Council when it acts as Azerbaijan.

"There are five permanent security council members," he said. "We've never had the chance to represent a security council country like the United States or China, but next year we'll be representing Azerbaijan, which is a temporary security council country."

DeVille said model UN would be a good opportunity for students in any major.

"It's not just for political science majors," she said. "I'm a chemistry major with a biology minor. It's something that's completely different from my field of study, but it's something that everyone, any major, can benefit from.

"It's something I would encourage all people to try if they have the chance."



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