Stockton Students Receive Awards at National Model United Nations in Japan
Galloway, N.J. - Stockton University students representing the United Kingdom at the National Model United Nations (NMUN) program in Japan this week were named a Distinguished Delegation by a vote of their peers, while four team members received awards for outstanding position papers and two were named best delegates.
About 20 percent of the delegates to the international event, run by the non-profit National Collegiate Conference Association, receive awards each year. Delegations were judged on how well they remained in character, participated on committees and properly used procedures.
“Yelling, standing on chairs and other examples of unprofessional behavior are not characteristics of model diplomats,” said the NMUN in explaining its criteria.
The delegates from Stockton are: Rich Nuccio, a senior Criminal Justice major from Brick, N.J., David Yoon, a senior Political Science major from Cherry Hill, N.J., Angelo Bechara, of Egg Harbor Township, N.J., a senior who is double majoring in Political Science and French, Nicole Mitchell of Dorothy in Atlantic County, N.J. , a junior majoring in Health Science, Josh Battaglia, a junior Political Science major from Point Pleasant, N.J., Daniel Correa, a senior from Old Bridge, N.J. majoring in Environmental Science, Dominic Tierno, a sophomore Political Science major from Collingswood, N.J., and Maryam Sarhan, a senior from Somers Point, N.J., who is president of the Student Senate and a Political Science major.
Stockton represented the U.K. on four U.N. committees: the Security Council, Economic and Social Council, the U.N. Refugee Agency, and General Assembly at Kobe City University.
The groups grappled with topics including: eliminating weapons of mass destruction, and preventing and combating the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons in the Asia-Pacific region; meeting sustainable development goals for all nations and segments of society, and building a resilient world through disaster risk reduction; protecting children in crisis and conflict, and addressing and adapting to the effects of climate change on the environment; the situation in North Korea and conflict prevention and the empowerment of women and girls.
Bechara and Mitchell, who were named best delegates, worked on the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees committee dealing with protecting children in conflict and crisis.
“Our U.K. delegation worked with two main groups, the EU and a multilateral alliance built with the United States,” the two explained in a statement. “We focused our working groups toward writing resolutions that specified social and emotional learning as a primary tool to help children in refugee camps develop and thrive in the future. We were the main sponsors for two out of the six passed resolutions in our committee, after merging with four different working groups.”
Nuccio and Yoon, who were on the Security Council, received an award for outstanding position paper. Papers were evaluated as to the overall quality of writing, style and grammar; citation of relevant resolutions/documents; general consistency with bloc/geopolitical constraints; and consistency with the constraints of the United Nations.
Nuccio said: “Our delegation contributed to two major resolutions: one establishing peace talks which would end military tensions on the Korean Peninsula, and another that created a long-term, multi-pronged approach to successfully reintegrate the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea) into the international community.
“The Security Council passed one comprehensive resolution on our second topic on the empowerment of women and girls in conflict prevention; our delegation initiated a financing mechanism to address a critical funding gap which currently limits the role of women in peace and security today,” Nuccio continued. “The Global Acceleration Initiative (GAI) would establish a trust fund to involve more women into conflict-mediation roles and decision-making leadership positions locally, regionally and globally.
“Overall, David and I far exceeded our own expectations and are proud to have been a part of the Distinguished Delegation earning Stockton University team representing the United Kingdom,” Nuccio said. “This opportunity has left us with memories which we will never forget, and we are truly grateful to have been given this chance as members of the Stockton community.”
Sarhan and Tierno also were recognized for their outstanding position paper for the General Assembly Plenary committee. Sarhan worked with members of the European Union and allies to formulate a resolution that strengthened existing mechanisms to eliminate weapons of mass destruction while respecting their peaceful uses, sovereignty of member states, and maximizing peace and security in a world in which people outside governments have the ability to illegally obtain and weaponize chemical and biological agents.
Tierno worked with another group to strengthen the Non Proliferation Treaty as well as to create and implement a Middle East Weapons of Mass Destruction Free Zone.
Battaglia and Correa worked on the Economic and Social Council. “We created a resolution that focused on disaster preparedness education and the creation of local response teams. During our session we had to merge with two other groups that focused on similar topics such as gender equality education and risk management scholarships,” they said in a statement.
“As the United Kingdom, we also worked on a second resolution focused on infrastructure, especially on preparation in terms of better buildings, roads and bridges to help save lives in areas prone to disasters.” After negotiating with others, “we got support for this draft resolution from every single country as a sponsor or signatory. This draft resolution was passed by acclimation during the voting session,” they said.
The students were accompanied by Tina Zappile, assistant professor of Political Science, who said: “Our team’s approach is centered on student empowerment and I am thrilled that their hard work was recognized. Model U.N. exemplifies experiential learning at its best and is well-known by professionals for providing students the opportunity to gain skills that are vital in today’s workplace. Most importantly, it builds confidence in their power to make a difference as they engage with complex issues that threaten a peaceful world order.
“Our students are given the opportunity to work with peers from around the world, learn from practitioners leading their committees, and hear directly from world leaders about the importance of global citizenship, regardless of their career paths,” Zappile said. “I am deeply grateful for support from the 2020 Learning Initiative, President Harvey Kesselman, Vice President Susan Davenport, Provost Lori Vermeulen, Dean Cheryl Kaus of the School of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Assistant Dean Mary Beth Sherrier and internationalization specialist JY Zhou.”
The trip also included cultural experiences at temples in Kyoto and at the Hiroshima Memorial Park museum where the horror of nuclear weapons for humanity is communicated through photos, stories, physical items and live testimonials from survivors.