In a year when the United Nations' relevance was debated almost weekly, Brigham Young University's Model United Nations delegation was ready. Fifty undergraduate students traveled to New York City to compete in the annual National Model United Nations competition and took home high honors.
The BYU students addressed various pressing global issues during the 2003 NMUN conference April 15-19, with more than 2,600 delegates and faculty from around the world competing.
"With more than 10 nationalities represented in this year's team, BYU once again showed that diversity - in addition to ability - is a major factor in its competitiveness on a national and international level," said program adviser Cory Leonard.
Representing Syria and Bangladesh, the BYU team continued its long-standing tradition of winning top awards, taking home both honorable mention and distinguished delegation.
This year's effort was made all the more memorable by Syria's recent international exposure in the media.
"Because Syria was in the news with its alleged interaction with the Iraq war and its possession of weapons of mass destruction at exactly at the same time we were in New York, the debates were much more intense and powerful, forcing our Syrian delegates to be sharper than ever before," said Ana Loso, course instructor.
The BYU Model United Nations team prepared for this trip with intensive training during both fall and winter semesters. Students met each week in class and engaged in research preparation, negotiation cases, public speaking exercises and diplomacy studies to enhance their ability to compete.
The students also had two retreats during the year to foster trust, build team understanding and further the skills necessary for the national competition.
For more information about BYU's Model UN, see the Web site at http://mun.byu.edu.
Writer: Lee Simons