Though they were not from the largest educational institute, Trinity Western University students demonstrated that bigger is not always better at the University of British Columbia’s recent Model United Nations conference, January 18 to 21.
Competing with students from the University of British Columbia and Simon Fraser University as well as institutes in Ontario, Illinois and even the Philippines, TWU’s participants walked away with five of the 12 individual awards, including two best delegate awards.
“A lot of our delegates who had participated in it before went into it wanting to be better competitors,” says Andrew Martin, a fourth-year political science student and president of TWU’s Lester B. Pearson Society, a group of students who organize and participate in Model United Nations simulations. “And students from Trinity Western who hadn’t participated in it before were very proactive in learning.”
Martin earned one of the two best delegate awards granted to Trinity Western for his debate and diplomacy skills as he represented the United States on the Security Council. It was Martin’s third Model United Nations simulation, and second time as best delegate. He brought back the award from the University of Toronto last year for his work on the Economic and Financial committee, and was part of the TWU team that brought home the overall best delegation from the U of T.
“In our classroom settings we have a lot of opportunities to do presentations, and so the students here are used to speaking and presenting information,” says Martin. “Even students who don’t have a background in political science or international studies do very well at the Model United Nations simulations.”
Such was the case for TWU’s other best delegate award winner, Jerilyn Sambrooke. A third year English major at Trinity Western, Sambrooke states that the Model United Nations at UBC was her first real competition, aside from a simulation in class at TWU and a simulation in the Canada pavilion in Germany where she worked last semester.
“My experience at UBC helped me learn how team dynamics work in that kind of setting,” says Sambrooke. “Often what makes a good delegate is people who are concerned not only about their country, but about the whole committee in general and getting things moving in the right direction.”
Sambrooke represented France on NATO, and had to understand France’s foreign policy and relations with NATO well enough to debate and respond to a variety of simulated crises that were brought to the committee’s attention throughout the three days of competition.
“Things work well when there are good group dynamics, when students know the foreign policy of their country and of others, and work as a team to get something done,” says Sambrooke. “Even if I don’t go into international relations, the skills I developed are invaluable. I learned how to interact with people in a way that can get them on board with my ideas.”
Honourable mentions also went to Nicky Zauner, Marten Youssef and RJ Carr for exceptional skills on their various committees.
TWU’s Lester B. Pearson Society hosted Canada’s former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Lloyd Axworthy, at Newlands Golf and Country Club this past Thursday in a benefit dinner to raise support for students to attend the upcoming Model United Nations simulation at the University of California in Berkeley February 22 to 25.