Today@Sam Article

SHSU Model UN Students Reflect Global Democracy

May 6, 2024
SHSU Media Contact: Mikah Boyd

By Mason Kizer

MUN-subway.jpgIn the bustling metropolis of New York City, a remarkable assembly of aspiring diplomats from Sam Houston State University partook in the prestigious 2024 Model United Nations (MUN) from April 1-6. This event embodied the spirit of international cooperation and dialogue, and saw SHSU students step into the shoes of delegates representing the Republic of the Philippines and navigate through the complexities of global politics and diplomacy.

The MUN serves as an educational simulation where students, referred to as delegates, engage in discussions on a wide array of global issues, mirroring the format and principles of the United Nations. Participants are tasked with drafting resolutions, strategizing and forging alliances in the spirit of addressing some of the world's most pressing challenges. It's an avenue for nurturing diplomacy, understanding international relations and developing an appreciation for the intricate balance of global governance.

Dennis Weng, an associate professor of political science at SHSU, spearheaded the program, passionately advancing global awareness on campus with strong support from the university. The Department of Political Science and the College of Humanity and Social Sciences sponsored and financed the students' participation in this event. The initiative is part of the department's broader aim to cultivate a deep understanding of political dynamics and international affairs among its students, preparing them for careers that make real-world impacts.


"The driving force behind launching the Model UN program here was my personal journey as a first-generation college student and my passion for international politics,” Weng said. “Recognizing the transformative power of education, I wanted to create a platform where students could engage deeply with global issues and develop a nuanced understanding of international relations. My goal was to bridge theoretical knowledge with practical skills in diplomacy and negotiation, empowering students to apply their learning in real-world scenarios and thereby enriching their academic and professional trajectories.”

The delegation from SHSU was comprised of 12 students from various backgrounds and disciplines, ranging from political science, criminal justice and psychology to those enrolled in the ROTC program. Leading this interdisciplinary team were head delegates Alondra Bermea and Taylar Russell, who played pivotal roles in guiding the group through the demanding schedule and complex negotiations.

SHSU students represented the Republic of the Philippines, delved into the intricacies of the nation's policies and aligned their strategies with the interests and values of the country. As an aid to their work, the delegates visited the Consulate General of the Philippines in New York City and met with the Honorable Antonio Manuel Lagdameo, the Permanent Representative of the Philippines to the United Nations.


The delegates seized this chance to ask pertinent questions, furthering their understanding of the challenges and priorities that shape the Philippines' stance on various global issues. Their visit resulted in the construction of agendas that were geared towards addressing critical issues ranging from the protection of children in conflict zones to ensuring the safe transportation of nuclear waste.

“We decided on what to include in our agendas by finding countries that shared our interests. Not everyone will agree with you on every issue, but once you find people with common interests and are willing to combine your ideas, writing resolutions and agendas is easy,” said Lupe Centeno, one of SHSU’s student delegates.

The SHSU delegates also toured the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in New York, which opened a new avenue for understanding Taiwan, its politics on the international stage and the complex US-China-Taiwan tensions. The tour was not only informative but also interactive, as the SHSU students had the opportunity to engage with visiting Taiwanese students from National Chengchi University, who attended the Model UN conference representing Finland this year. This interaction fostered a unique cultural and educational exchange, allowing both groups to share insights and perspectives on their respective countries' roles in global politics.

MUN-square.jpgThroughout the event, the delegates' commitment and endurance were truly put to the test. Their days began at 9 a.m. and extended until 10:30 p.m., with the team working tirelessly to prepare, strategize and advocate for their policies. Despite receiving little sleep, their unwavering dedication and hard work paid off, culminating in a successful representation of the Philippines and significant personal and professional growth for each delegate.

“The hardest part of participating in MUN in New York was the extensive research needed to understand and represent our country fully,” said Aminah Elassi, one of SHSU’s student delegates. “My favorite part of the trip was the intercultural communication. I remember speaking to a wonderful girl from France who could explain their experiences to me in an interpersonal way.”

On top of visiting the Philippine embassy, highlights of the experience included a luncheon with the Taiwanese student delegation and the MUN closing ceremony. During the luncheon, the SHSU students were able to mingle with their international peers in a more relaxed setting. The closing ceremony was held at the United Nations building in New York, where all of the student delegates gathered to reflect upon their work. The Bearkat delegation was recognized with the Honorable Mention Award and the Best Position Paper Award.

As the curtains close on the 2024 MUN event, the experiences and lessons learned by the SHSU delegation will undoubtedly resonate, shaping their paths as future leaders and diplomats. MUN continues to stand as a beacon of hope, a reminder that through dialogue and understanding, the next generation can pave the way for a more peaceful and cooperative world.

For those interested in participating in the 2025 Model UN, the opportunity to be a part of this transformative experience awaits. SHSU's MUN program welcomes inquiries from self-motivated students who want to improve their public speaking, critical thinking and teamwork skills, and are eager to explore diplomacy, international relations and global policymaking. To learn more or to express your interest in joining next year's delegation, please reach out to Weng through his faculty profile. For more insights into the Department of Political Science and its programs, interested individuals can explore their website and its dedicated Model UN page.

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