Model UN represents Montenegro at national conference

The Hastings College Model United Nations (Model UN) team negotiated with over 5,000 domestic and international students at the National Model UN Conference B in New York City, New York on April 14–18. The 12 students represented Montenegro this year, a southeastern European country on the southeast coast of the Adriatic Sea.

Model UN teams are tasked to represent one of the countries in the official UN. The students represent that country in a simulated environment, but as accurate as possible to how the official UN works. 

“Your mindset when you are in committee has to be completely different — no representing personal values,” said Sabina Hilaiel, Model UN advisor. 

This year, the HC team prepared for their conference during a J-Term class. Preparation included researching their country and writing position papers for the various committees they would be in. Hilaiel plans to move the J-Term class to Block 6 next year because that is when the conference will take place.

The HC Model UN participated in seven committees: three general assemblies, UN Women, UN Environment Assembly, Special Committee on Peacekeeping (C34) and the Conference of the Parties (COP).

“Acting as a representative of a country and meeting individuals from all these different states really increases your international awareness on how other internationals think. Us being Montenegro is a different state of mind than us just being citizens of the United States.” Jarred Russell, Model UN president.

Twelve of the 13 people on the team attended, with one student unable to make it. 

Senior Rebecca Riley also participated at the conference, working behind the scenes. After three years on the Model UN team, she got an internship for National Model UN. 

Before the competition started, her job was to write a background guide that provided the framework of the sustainable urbanization problem that would be addressed by the UN Development Group committee. She worked with a team of people located around the globe.

“I learned so much about how to work well with different people,” Riley said.

Riley also worked as an administrative assistant, helping the competition “run smoothly” and editing papers submitted by the committees.

“My impression is that things like that cannot be learned in class,” Hilaiel said.

Model UN did not win any awards this year, but Hilaiel and Russell feel the trip went well.

“From my perspective, a lot of students on our team experienced a lot of things they hadn’t experience before,” Russell said.