Thirty-one Ursinus students attended the Model United Nations in New York City this April. Eighteen of them represented Pakistan, 12 represented Kyrgyzstan, and one student, senior Eva Bramesco, an International Relations and Spanish major, acted as the Head Delegate, or team leader.
The Model U.N. brings together close to 5,000 students, half from outside the United States, to New York City each spring to discuss current global issues on 20 selected committees.
“The experience was awesome and unique,” says Tan-Tiongco. “Everyone took it seriously.”
Tan-Tiongco’s paper represented Pakistan to the Food and Agriculture Organization (F.A.O.) and focused on the Impact of Biotechnology on food security, how to increase agricultural productivity around the world, and how to combat the microbiological hazards in food. Additionally, the paper emphasized that Pakistan wanted to work together with other Member States of the F.A.O. to figure out how to feed the expected nine billion people in the world by 2050.
This was the first time Tan-Tiongco attended the conference. “I felt like we were actually doing things to ensure food security to all countries,” she says about her work. “I learned so much about the topic, not only from the perspective of Pakistan, but how other countries view the problem. It really opened up my mind.”
Ambassador (Ret.) Joseph Melrose, who served as a Foreign Service Officer with the U.S. Department of State for over 30 years, and is now an Ambassador in Residence and Professor of International Relations at Ursinus, takes students to the Model U.N. every year. Ursinus has attended the conference for more than 40 years. Melrose, who teaches the course “International Organizations and Diplomacy,” which emphasizes functions of the U.N., has taken students to the last 10 conferences.
“The experience for them is invaluable,” he says. “The conference helps students learn how to think critically and then express their thoughts verbally to gain confidence in public speaking,” he says. “I see students who participate in the Model U.N. join the State Department as Junior Officers right after graduation.”
Senior Eva Bramesco, who acted as the head delegate in her fourth year participating, plans to move to Washington D.C. after graduation and get a job within the government. She plans to utilize the lessons she learned from the Model U.N.
“Over the years I’ve become a bit more suspicious of other people in diplomatic bargaining,” she says. “But, I also have an increased confidence that with the right negotiating, a compromise can be brokered. The more the youth of today use diplomacy as their primary tool in times of conflict, the more it will erode the automatic default to engage in violence right away. Unfortunately it is a slow on-going process.”