Suffolk University’s Model UN Team and Their Recent Success
At the end of March, Suffolk University’s Model United Nations (UN) Team traveled to New York to compete in a conference against several other schools. For the second year in a row, the team received the Distinguished Delegation award,the equivalent of a second place tier award, with several of their members winning individual Outstanding Delegate Awards. These awards are all quite the honor for the team, and they are very proud that the Suffolk Model UN Team has several times been announced at the General Assembly Hall of the United Nations in New York.
In 2016, the team won an Honorable Mention award, the equivalent of a third place tier award. In 2017, they won their first Distinguished Delegation award. Both of these awards were a testament to how hard the team works daily.
Model UN is considered a competitive simulation. Schools meet together at conferences, representing different countries and different councils. Delegates of those councils work together to solve real world problems, and come up with solutions to benefit those countries. Councils can range from Security Council to Economic Council. In the past, delegates have discussed issues like how to help Syrian refugees, combating ISIS, and Arab development.
Yazeed Abu-Ghazaleh, a senior on the team, describes Model UN as a life-changing experience that may be simulation, but feels very real.
“Although we aren’t in a real environment when we tackle these issues, it still feels real to all of us involved,” he says. “These solutions we come up with are ones that really could help solve these issues. Although we aren’t making a huge difference in the world now, we are building a foundation and voice to make a difference in the future.”
Abu-Ghazaleh is the current president of Suffolk’s Model UN team until he graduates this spring. In the meantime, Abu-Ghazaleh credits the group as something that has changed him personally, academically, and in his future career.
“I love politics, but academically, my schedule just didn’t have room to fit in any politics classes,” says the Management and Business Analysis major. “Model UN was a fun but realistic way for me to follow my passion and interest in politics.
“We learn how to negotiate and compromise with all different kinds of representatives who may have very different ideas than us. But in the end, those negotiation skills and personal communication skills I’ve learned didn’t just help me do better in my classes, but personally as well.”
Abu-Ghazaleh credits the club for boosting his confidence, and giving him a “can-do” attitude, that whatever he sets his mind to do, he can just “go and do it.”
Suffolk’s Model UN team works tirelessly all throughout the year to prepare for their conferences. Their executive board puts together all kinds of training activities, like inviting speakers to their practices, working on negotiation skills, and learning how to read legalese better. They practice mini simulations amongst each other.
Recently, the group created a new position, a Volunteer Leader position, which they hope to begin implementing soon. The group hopes this leader will find local volunteer positions around Boston, like working with homeless shelters and children’s hospitals. They also volunteer to work with high school and middle school UN students, to boost their abilities and prepare them for future years in Model UN.
Although Abu-Ghazaleh will be leaving the group this spring when he graduates, he sees much hope for the group’s future. After all, the majority of the team are currently freshman and sophomore students, with a chance to continue to grow and develop their skills to better the team. That’s the aspect that Abu-Ghazaleh sees as the most important part of being in Model UN: teamwork.
“This is one group where self-interest isn’t really a thing,” says Abu-Ghazaleh. “We all have things to teach each other, but it’s just as important to listen to each other as well. There’s always something to learn from someone else.
“I know the group will continue to succeed when they put the collective interest first. I see them doing great things.”