Global relations and meaningful experiences appeal to Model UN members


International relations continue to dominate news headlines and the Adams State College Model United Nations (Model UN) Club provides students with the opportunity to develop an understanding of governments and world politics. This year, the members attended the annual conference in Rome, Italy, including Micah Keller, '12 secondary education; Joseph Chavez '14 psychology; and Laurel Heimstra '14 secondary education; Alex Robinson '11 history/government, president of Model UN; and two counselor education graduate students, Melissa Kam and Alfonso Casias. Adding to the pleasure and easing the financial burden, Kam received a scholarship for 50 percent of the cost, from the conference organization, and the other Adams State attendees received 25 percent scholarships.

While a member of Model UN, for the last four years, Kam developed an acceptance for the diversity of ruling orders. "Oftentimes the history and culture of a country contribute to how governments develop, rule internally and how they relate to other nations."

Pictured, Micah Keller, Laurel Heimstra, Alex Robinson, Joseph Chavez, Mari Centeno, Melissa Kam, and Alfonso Casias

Pictured, Micah Keller, Laurel Heimstra, Alex Robinson, Joseph Chavez, Mari Centeno, Melissa Kam, and Alfonso Casias

This year the Model United Nations Conference addressed rural poverty in developing countries. Keller and Robinson received the Distinguished Delegation Award, at the conference. They represented the Republic of Turkey. Keller said their presentation required research, a final paper, and speeches. Casias and Heimstra teamed up to represented Argentina; and Kam and Chavez represented India. All the students spent hours researching and training in the Adams State Nielsen Library.

Robinson plans on attending law school after graduating. At their weekly meetings, Model UN members receive a topic with one minute preparation time and one minute presentation time. Speech topics include marijuana dispensaries, Pluto no longer a planet, divorce and effects on children; and globalization. "The public speaking exercise prepared me for the conference and for my future as a lawyer," Robinson said.

Keller said his global perspective expands every year. Other members agree and appreciate the opportunity to travel internationally, "You can read and research all you want, but there is nothing like actually being in a foreign country. Even going to have a meal was an adventure," Heimstra said. A graduate student, Casias appreciated the history of Italy and Rome. "It is good to see what others are like in countries other than your own." Chavez agreed and said the competitions provide an opportunity to learn more about international relations.

The Model UN sponsor, Dr. Mari Centeno, associate professor of political science, said she is extremely proud of the students. "The Italian conference organizers repeatedly complimented me on the knowledge and professionalism of the Adams State team." Because of the scholarships the group stayed in the conference hotel, rather than opting for less expensive accommodations and having to commute over every morning. "It was easier and the hotel was nicer," Centeno added. For the six years while Centeno has been the sponsor, Adams State Model UN has traveled to Las Vegas, Harvard, Santa Barbara, NYC, Venezuela, Netherlands -- Hague, Greece, and Italy.