Cal State San Bernardino students have a tradition of being among the top diplomats in Model Arab League and Model United Nations competitions that take place annually, and 2012 was no different.
The Model Arab League team, representing the Palestinian National Authority earned its 20th consecutive Outstanding Delegation Award March 22-24 at the Rocky Mountain Model Arab League Regional Conference at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. The award ranks Cal State San Bernardino among the top Model Arab League programs in the United States.
In New York City, the Model United Nations team was named a Distinguished Delegation in a conference that is so large it is split into two sessions over two weeks at two separate venues. CSUSB, which represented the country of Jordan, competed April 3-7. When placed in the context of the last 19 years – 15 Outstanding Delegation awards, the Model UN’s top honor – Cal State San Bernardino teams have consistently ranked among the top teams in the world.
In both competitions, as in past years, the teams of students were complimented on their
professionalism and preparedness. The Model Arab League and Model United Nations organizers say that the simulations – in which students represent countries and address real-life issues as if they were diplomats – stress cooperation and consensus building to reach beneficial solutions.
“In talking with colleagues from the other universities and colleges, they remarked again and again about how professional, polite, prepared and very engaging our students were,” Kevin Grisham, faculty adviser for CSUSB’s Model Arab League and Model United Nations programs, said after the March Model Arab League competition. “In fact, as a result of their successes, the Middle East Center at the University of Utah wants to work with CSUSB’s Center for Islamic and Middle East Studies and our Model Arab League and Model UN Programs in the future.”
In New York, the sentiment was the same. “They were routinely spoken of as the most professional, prepared and polite students at the conference,” Grisham said. “That’s impressive when you think about there were 193 universities and colleges from six continents at the conference this year – largest number ever in the history of the conference.”
In addition to team honors, at the Model Arab League, students also were awarded Outstanding Delegate and Honorable Mention honors in their committees. Out of five committees – Joint Defense Council, Political Affairs, Environmental Affairs, Social Affairs and Palestinian Affairs – CSUSB students’ work was recognized in four of the committees, making it one of the most successful years for any university in Model Arab League competition, Grisham said.
At the Model United Nations, CSUSB students won individual position paper awards in five of their nine committees, as well as earning individual Outstanding Delegate awards in four out of the nine committees.
Past participants in both programs say the simulations gave them real-life experiences in diplomacy and relationship building. Some program graduates have embarked on careers in diplomacy, while others have gone on to prestigious graduate programs, such as the Harvard School of Law.