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UNM wins 5 awards at Model U.N. event

Michael Westervelt

Issue date: 4/8/08 Section: News
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UNM's Model United Nations team brought home five awards at a conference in Puebla, Mexico.

Among the 160 university teams and graduate programs that competed in the Harvard World Model U.N., UNM was the only school to win more than one award in the same committee.

UNM went toe to toe with some of the world's best international studies programs, such as the London School of Economics, Princeton and the University of California at Los Angeles. The conference was held March 24 through 28.

At the conference, each member was assigned to a committee that simulated a U.N. meeting. Each committee had to create and propose resolutions on a debate topic in accordance with U.N. procedure.

Awards for excellence were given to Julio Acosta, John Smeltzer, Jay Reidy, Brian Moore and Lauren Huesemann for their roles in representing Brazil in the World Trade Organization and China and Brazil in the World Bank.

Student Brian Moore said he was happy with the team's effort.

"This is a pretty young program at UNM, and it felt good to be able to internationally compete with larger and private schools," he said.

This was the fourth year the team has competed in the competition.

Department of Economics professor Christine Sauer said the program does not receive the support it deserves.

"Having the ability to put courses together that would offer the ability for students to get a solid background in some of the areas they would be working would be amazing for this group," she said.

Moore said the program is almost entirely run by students.

"It's harder for us to fundraise than it is for other schools, because our program is small," he said. "We don't receive state funding at all, and it forces us to raise, on average, about $20,000."

Student Jay Reidy said it's incredible that UNM was a major competitor.

"Even though UNM is not as large or well-known as some of the other schools are, it felt really good to know that we competed and won," he said. "I think, with continued victories, we will grow in popularity and it will become easier for us to raise the money that we need."

Moore said students should apply to join UNM's Model United Nations team.

"We are always looking for new students, who don't necessarily need any history in the subject, only a passion to learn and compete," he said. "We have competed well on an international level with the support that we have had. But with growing support and the University of New Mexico's help, imagine what would be possible."
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