Outstanding Delegation: Manhattan College Team Honored at Virtual Model UN

The group dealt with many pandemic obstacles to shine at the global conference.

Model UN team on Google MeetEach year,a group of Manhattan College students immerse themselves in the history and politics of one country and represent that country’s government and take part in the National Model United Nations Conference. The conference brings together students from colleges and universities not only across the country, but also around the world.

This year, in a time when the world continues to navigate the global pandemic, the Model UN Conference took place virtually on the Gatherly platform. The platform simulated the in-person conference to near perfection, including an “elevator” and virtual waiting rooms. 

Despite all the novelties of the 2021 conference, the Manhattan College team, representing the Republic of Iraq, earned the Outstanding Delegation prize, the highest award given to schools at the conference. It was only the second time that a Manhattan College team has received the award in more than 40 years of participating at the Model UN.

“Most of the team of 14 students did not know each other before this semester and, in a virtual classroom environment, it was challenging to create a sense of a team,” said Pamela Chasek, Ph.D., professor and chair of the political science department at Manhattan College, and faculty adviser to the team. “Our head delegates, Carolina Perez ’21 and Luis Garcia ’21, set up a group chat with all the students that built a sense of community throughout the semester.”

This year, Manhattan College Model UN alumni, under the leadership of George Fontas ’02, stepped up and donated funds so that the team could cover its registration fees for the spring conference. All of the Manhattan College students participated from home – from Ecuador to Miami to the Bronx. 

Among other accomplishments, Esha Jan ’21 was selected to chair of the World Health Organization simulation, and Joanna Canigiani ’23 and Liola Moody ’22 were recognized for their hard work in the Commission on the Status of Women by receiving a “Distinguished Delegates in Committee” award, as voted on by their peers. 

“All of the students' hard work paid off,” Chasek said. “What more could we hope for in the challenging year we have all had!”

By Pete McHugh