Student delegates grapple with world issues in Canada


The Model United Nation's trip to an annual international conference last week in Montreal exemplified the University's mantra of 'Jersey Roots, Global Reach.'

The University's Model UN President Harinath Amarnath was honored for being a top delegate in his committee at the event.

'When Harinath won his award, hearing them announce Rutgers over Ivy League schools was a great feeling,' Director of Communications Shariq Ahmad said.

The conference recognized all of the committee's top three delegates, Amarnath said.

At the conference, held at McGill University from Jan. 28 to 31, teams of students received assignments of a country and an issue. Their goal was to resolve a problem, keeping in mind the specific country's perspective.

'I have been participating in Model UN since I was in middle school,' said Amarnath, a Rutgers College senior. 'It's a great way to improve public speaking and presentation skills and learn about complex international issues.'

Attending the event allowed the students to meet 1,400 delegates from schools around the U.S., Canada, England and Pakistan, and learn more about different countries, Ahmad said.

'I gained a lot of knowledge about real world events,' said School of Arts and Sciences junior Irina Ushakov. 'We debate about current legislation and try to resolve complex issues.'

Attending this conference can help students articulate ideas and better understand how the world works, said Sarika Chopra, a School of Arts and Sciences sophomore.

The students started the day with a debate on a topic, following UN procedure. Alliances with other nations often led to resolutions, Ushakov said. In some cases, unique ideas were mailed to the actual UN.

'It was interesting to me to see how students from schools like Harvard and Columbia were so focused on issues such as the economy, while Rutgers and other liberal arts schools were not afraid to step outside the box to look for new solutions,' Chopra said.

During free time, the students met students from universities around the world, Ushakov said.

'We made new friends from all over the world, and our own delegation also got very close,' Ahmad said.

Ushakov said she was able to gain knowledge through the program.

'I gained the confidence of doing my own research and then presenting that knowledge and negotiating with others,' Ushakov said.

Sixteen students attended the conference this year, and Model UN members hope to increase funding and the number grows in the future, Amarnath said.

'Participating in Model UN provides one with the skills to negotiate and think outside the box, which is essential for professions like business and law,' Amarnath said.

Model UN encourages interested students to attend its meetings, Tuesdays at 9 p.m. in Room 402 of the Rutgers Student Center on the College Avenue campus. E-mail RUInternationalRelations@gmail.com for more information.


Cassandra Sperber

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