CI students tackle global issues in the Model UN Project

Camarillo, CA - Representing Austria, South Africa, the U.S., Sweden and the Republic of the Congo at different times taught CSU Channel Islands (CI) junior Nick Gomez to assess global dilemmas from all angles.

“It forces you to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and look at issues through the lens of another country,” Gomez said. Gomez is a member of CI’s Model UN Team, a revolving group of CI students who regularly participate in intercollegiate Model United Nations conferences and recently brought home several awards.

The conferences allow college students from all over the U.S. to tackle global problems that confound world leaders, including religious freedom, the rights of indigenous people and treatment of women, to name just a few issues. CI students receive credit for coursework and conference participation.

“They prepare draft resolutions, negotiate with allies and adversaries, resolve conflicts, and navigate the Model UN conference rules of procedure,” said CI Professor of Political Science Andrea Grove, Ph.D., faculty team leader along with Political Science lecturer Christopher Scholl, Ph.D.

Each year, 15 to 17 students travel to the Western Collegiate Model United Nations (WestMUN) conference at Santa Barbara City College in March and the Model United Nations of the Far West (MUNFW) near Seattle, Washington in April.

“This time, one of the committees was dealing with human trafficking, another one with sustainable development issues and another with cyber-terrorism,” Grove said. “It’s an experiential way for students to learn about global issues. They have to do research on these global issues to prepare for the conference.”

At the conference, each student is placed with a delegation charged with representing a specific U.N. country.

“I’ve represented India, Austria, Ecuador, South Africa,” said CI senior Sara Sanders, 22. “Ireland was really interesting because it’s such a small island nation that is so dependent on the European Union.”

The participants serve on model U.N. committees such as the U.N. Security Council, the World Health Organization or UNESCO.

“They don’t call me Sara, they call me ‘the delegate from India’ or ‘the delegate from Ireland,’ Sanders said.

The students also compete for awards such as Best Speaker or Best Diplomat.
At WestMUN, Best Speaker awards went to CI students Nick Gomez, Jeanette Quiroz, Sebastian Navarro, and Hannah Senninger.

Best Diplomat awards went to Maria Barrios and Daniel Aspinwall with honorable mentions for Best Diplomat going to Victor Frausto and Jenny Arevalo. CI also swept the awards at MUNFW, where honors are given to delegations as opposed to individuals. Three of the four delegations populated with CI students won awards. They were: El Salvador, Austria and Tanzania.

“Also, graduating senior Sara Sanders was selected to be the Secretary General at the Western Model UN conference next year,” Grove said. “This is a fantastic honor.”

Sanders— graduates Saturday with a double major in history and political science—has been to nine conferences during her four years at CI. She said the emails and queries about the 2016 conference in March have already started filling up her inbox.

Aside from the valuable experience she gains from organizing next year’s conference, “I’m happy to have been selected because it gives me a good excuse to come back to California,” Sanders said.

Sanders, who hopes to be a university professor someday, is going on to pursue a master’s degree in political science at Sarah Lawrence College in New York.

About California State University Channel Islands
CSU Channel Islands (CI) is the only four-year, public university in Ventura County and is known for its interdisciplinary, multicultural and international perspectives, and its emphasis on experiential and service learning. CI’s strong academic programs focus on business, sciences, liberal studies, teaching credentials, and innovative master’s degrees. Students benefit from individual attention, up-to-date technology, and classroom instruction augmented by outstanding faculty research. CI has been designated by the U.S. Department of Education as a Hispanic-Serving Institution and is committed to serving students of all backgrounds from the region and beyond. Connect with and learn more about CI by visiting CI’s Social Media.

The California State University (CSU) will reach a significant milestone of 3 million alumni during commencement in spring 2015 and has launched the world’s largest yearbook. The Class of 3 Million online yearbook is an interactive platform where alumni can create a profile and connect with the millions of other alumni from the 23 CSU campuses across the state. Alumni who sign up for the yearbook will also be entered into a special contest to win one of three $10,000 scholarships for a current or future student, sponsored by Herff Jones. For more information about the yearbook and the Class of 3 Million, visit