A group of 12 Texas A&M International University students participated in the WorldMUN ’09 Conference held March 22-27 at The Hague, Netherlands. One student was the recipient of the 2,500-member Conference’s Diplomacy Award.
James Cortez, TAMIU senior, received the Award. Other students attending the Conference included: Michael Bustamante, Carlos Cantu, Cynthia Gallardo, Roxana Gomez, Alfredo Jimenez, Monica Luna, Annette Maldonado, Annalie Miravete, Michael Bustamante, Alyssa Tijerina and Mayra Zamora.
WorldMUN, the Harvard World Model United Nations, is a model college-level UN Conference that is the largest outside of North America. Every year, it welcomes university students from 42 countries to the most diverse and largest college-level Model UN conference outside of North America. The Conference is held at different world sites such as Brazil, China and Egypt. Last year’s Conference was held in Mexico.
This year’s setting of the Conference at The Hague, Netherlands was especially significant. The Netherlands has long international tradition of cooperation, as one of the founding fathers of the European Union as well as the United Nations.
The TAMIU student delegations represented the country of Ghana in the Conference, advocating for the country’s interest in a UN-styled forum. Cortez’ Conference Committee topic was Radioactive Waste Management.
His Diplomacy Award recognized “knowledge and representation of the nation’s interests and policies, and of the committee topics; timely submission of quality position papers; the ability to work with other delegates, persuade other delegates about the feasibility of a certain solution and develop pragmatic and acceptable issue solutions and demonstrating skills and effectiveness in caucusing, amendment and resolution writing, and debate.
Cortez, a Biology major, believes that his and his fellow TAMIU students’ experience will inform and shape their future lives. “This experience has taught me that really and truly, anything is possible. It is possible to be a student at Texas A&M International University and compete for awards with individuals from Berkeley, Oxford, and other prestigious universities around the world. Knowing that getting anything I want out of life from TAMIU through winning the award is certainly a memory that I will take through my life,” he said.
The WorldMUN Conference combines daily committee sessions with nightly social events. Delegates experience the host country and discuss and debate ideas from the perspective of countries they may have never visited or lived in. Through this exchange of diverse ideas, delegates learn more about other countries, issues of global importance and themselves.
Many Conference participants maintain that the entire experience makes the world smaller for one week, with student differences in geography, culture, religion and social backgrounds blurred into a single spirit united by the importance of the responsibilities and benefits of global citizenry. Some have noted that what the Olympics are for sportsmen, the WorldMUN is for students. WorldMUN hopes to spread the ideals of peace, justice, understanding and participation, just as the United Nations does.
TAMIU students competed for consideration based on an application, resume, and a personal interview. Interview selection criteria included merit, diversity, and academic standing.
The program is coordinated by the University’s division of International Programs and is now in its fifth year of offering. Partial program support is provided by the division and the University’s Office of the Provost. Students also provide various portions of their travel funding. Last year, a TAMIU student group attended the WorldMUN’08 Conference in Puebla, Mexico.