From Friday Jan. 5 to Sunday Jan. 14 the Bellevue College Model United Nations, or MUN program attended the yearly international National Model United Nations conference in the Galapagos Islands in Ecuador. MUN is a class and program on campus where students come together to simulate the United Nations and tackle various social, economic and political issues that affect people internationally. The conference in Ecuador was essentially a similar experience but on a much larger scale, featuring students involved in MUN programs worldwide.
The selection of the Galapagos Islands in this case was intentional, as the official NMUN website explains. The site states, “At NMUN Galapagos, delegates can protect the environment in words and actions. Committees will focus on global environmental issues that directly impact this unique biosphere. Outside conference sessions, we offer a service learning opportunity in the national park. Ecuador is home to two of the original twelve UNESCO World Heritage Sites. We will explore the first one, Galapagos Islands, on land and in the water. We will also tour the second one: the historical city center of Quito. Sessions are held in partnership with Universidad San Francisco de Quito. Their institute on San Cristobal Island is located on its own beach adjacent to the national park.”
According to Abner Pagunuran, who attended the event with Bellevue College, the advisor for MUN chooses five students who apply to the conference to travel to Ecuador this year. As for what Bellevue College’s role was at the event, Pagunuran said, “We represented the United Mexican States in the United Nations Environment Assembly, United Nations Human Settlements Programme, Conference of the Parties, High Level Political Forum, and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. We spent all of fall quarter reading the background guides about our topics and researching Mexico’s stance on those topics.”
Aside from specific stances, Pagunuran talked about what he learned during the conference as well. “We learned how to become better technical writers and how to function through legal proceedings through Robert’s Rules of Order. We also learned about how to be good delegates and how to represent a country in a political setting. We also learned how to write resolutions like the UN. At the conference, we got to put those skills to use by negotiating with other colleges representing other Member States to strike deals and compromise while also acting in Mexico’s best interest to pass international laws.”
Pagunuran was joined by fellow students Sydney Sept, Joedy Morrow, Isis Ishino and Kaddy Jabbi. Overall, Bellevue College’s representatives brought home a position paper award for the United Nations Human Settlements Programme, which means that they presented the best paper on the topic as voted by a committee. They also received an honorable mention for their delegation as a whole.