Last week, Randolph College sent a delegation of students to an international summit in New York City, where they discussed international relations and proposed solutions to some of the world’s most pressing issues.
Fifteen Randolph students represented Equatorial Guinea in the 2018 Model United Nations conference March 18-22. The team received special recognition for its work, receiving the Distinguished Delegation Award. More than 5,000 university students—more than half from outside the United States—attend the annual conference, which offers 23 simulated UN committees and uses procedural rules developed with UNITAR.
Aaron Shreve, visiting political science professor and faculty advisor for the Randolph team, was impressed with the students and how they interacted with other delegates from around the world.
“Students are kind of forced to speak up, and everyone did a great job,” Shreve said. “Jenn Weigle ’20 was on a committee with hundreds of people and really asserted herself, so that was nice to see. And Jose Marquez ’21 was the only Randolph student on his committee and was very active and, from what I heard, was critical in bringing certain countries and other delegations together to negotiate and that sort of thing.”
This year’s Model UN conference was the second for Igor Bruce Ngabo Rwaka ’18. He served as one of Randolph’s head delegates assigned to the FAO Committee and the Security Council.
“The way it works is that the school gets a country, and you get assigned a UN committee and do research on the position of your country on said committee,” Rwaka explained. “As a delegate, I thoroughly researched Equatorial Guinea’s position on the topic and as a head delegate, I was put in charge of running one of the night workshops that we conducted three times a week.
“Once in New York, I interviewed and had the chance to join the NMUN team and serve as chair of one of the committees there for the whole week,” Rwaka added. “As chair, one of the major roles was running sessions comprised of 100 or so countries represented by delegations from different countries—including us—and roughly around 200 people.”
Chairing a committee was a huge honor for Rwaka.
“Serving as chair not only put me in a position where my public speaking and leadership skills were tested and improved, but I also networked with other people who were serving on DAIS with me,” Rwaka said.
Outside conference sessions, delegates from Randolph and more than 130 other UN Member States took advantage of opportunities at Permanent Missions to the UN, the United Nations itself, as well as world-class museums, architecture, shows, restaurants, and shopping. The Randolph delegation also took a guided tour of the UN facilities.
The Randolph students also had the unique opportunity to meet alumnae living in the area. Lorena Kern ’72 hosted Randolph students and other alumnae and alumni for a special reception at her home.
“It was nice for the students to kind of get out and get to talk to the alums there,” Shreve said. “After a while, it kind of turned into a mini panel about what to do to get a job because all of the alums have jobs in the New York City area. So they talked about what you need to do, and I think our students really appreciated that.”
Along with serving as a committee chair and winning the Distinguished Delegation Award, the visit was one of many highlights of the trip for Rwaka.
“As a senior, I was really reassured that Randolph College has prepared me to meet whatever life will throw at me, and also that there is a tight-knit group of alums ready to help me if I reach out to them,” he said.
Membership on Randolph’s Model UN team is highly selective and requires enrollment in the Global Issues at United Nations course. Student participation and travel to the Model UN conference is made possible by support from the Sheldon and Chrystine Hicks Endowed Global Studies Fund, created through the generosity of Marilyn Hicks Fitzgerald ’68 and Michael P. Fitzgerald.