From Nov. 4-6 (2022), Siena’s own Model United Nations Club traveled to Washington, D.C., to participate in the 2022 National Model United Nations intercollegiate conference. This year, over 750 college and university students from both the United States and around the globe gathered in Washington, D.C., to participate. This year, the convocation offered eight simulated United Nations committees that gave Saints valuable real-world experience through the procedural similarities developed by the United Nations Institute for Training and Research. For students looking to pursue a career in international diplomacy, attending the 2022 National Model United Nations provided a preview of what their future may look like. In the Spring of 2022, Hussein Fayad, ’24, re-introduced Model United Nations Club to Siena College: “I wanted to start the club at Siena because of how important international issues are to all of us. They demand more attention. It’s important to understand the culture, history, and politics of other countries and how those dynamics impact all of our lives.”
At the core of the 2022 National Model United Nations, Saints learned how to further their understanding of international diplomacy and the culture of different countries. Although Siena students may be based in Loudonville, New York, delegates proposed resolutions created in tandem with other countries that were sent to the United Nations floor. Through these exercises, Siena’s 12 Model United Nations delegates were cognizant of the influence of culture, geography, politics, and contemporary global issues on the resolutions that the delegates worked to develop. The Siena College delegation represented the college in front of more than 130 United Nations Member States from all over the globe to cultivate skills such as diplomacy, negotiation, compromise, and thorough research, all alongside the pillars of writing and public speaking that characterize the United Nations.
At the 2022 National Model United Nations, Siena’s delegates represented the Netherlands and worked alongside countries such as the United States, France, Italy, and Japan to develop resolutions that were in the mutual interest of all the countries involved. This year, Siena’s delegates collaborated on the Model United Nations floor to address pertinent issues such as how international bodies moderate the usage of chemical and biological weapons, protection of indigenous people’s lands and rights, and pave the road to global vaccine equality and accessibility. Siena’s delegation was split up into pairs, where each of the pairs attended a specific committee that discussed these topics in the context of the international community by replicating specific committees of the official United Nations. While in these committees, Siena’s delegates assumed the role of the Netherlands and conducted foreign policy exercises in this way. In 2022, the committees Siena delegates attended included the Environment, the United Nations General Assembly 1 and 2, and the United Nations Security Council.
Siena’s Model United Nations Club stresses intense research and preparation to accurately and concisely form resolutions, or formal expressions of opinion for a specific member of the United Nations, to accurately emulate the country that the team was assigned. A quickly accessible knowledge of topics like economics, human rights, the environment, and the culture of the assigned country was paramount to being successful at the 2022 National Model United Nations. In this year’s case, Siena’s Model United Nations Club needed to research the foreign policy and domestic interests of the Netherlands to accurately model its behavior in the United Nations setting. This preparation included understanding the general structure and proceedings of the United Nations, the Mandate, Structure, and Function of each team’s committee, and the various Committee Topics that would eventually be assigned. The task may seem daunting, but through the hard work of Siena’s delegates for the two-month period between finding out their assigned country and the 2022 convention, Siena’s team was able to successfully pass a resolution on the floor of the United Nations.
Hussein Fayad, ’24, spoke about the hard work and success of the delegation at the conference: “Delegates take great pride in seeing the resolution they worked so hard to pass. The anticipation when the chair asks who’s in favor and then counts the votes, waiting to see if your resolution succeeds, is thrilling. All our delegates were able to see their contributions implemented. It’s a great achievement that they should all be proud of.” The work of Siena’s talented delegation did not go unnoticed, as judges honored Siena College with the Honorable Mention award. This award encompasses the performance of the team in key categories such as Diplomacy and Decorum, Formal Session Speaking, and Strategies for Negotiating and Building Consensus. Emily Atassi, ’25, spoke of the value of attending the conference and traveling to Washington, D.C.: “During the trip, it was really cool to meet other kids from around the country that had similar interests and career goals with me. We all learned a lot from each other, and it was a great experience overall!” Although the 2022 National Model United Nations may be over, the experience it provided for Siena’s delegates will continue to be beneficial both in the remainder of their time as delegates and in their future careers in diplomacy.