The Model United Nations program at Cal State San Bernardino maintained its tradition of excellence at the recent National Model United Nations conference in New York City, bringing home an honorable mention and an Outstanding Position Paper Award.

The team, representing the country of Jamaica, received its award in the UN’s Grand Hall at the end of the annual conference, which ran from March 25-29.

“This is third place at the conference where we were among universities like Texas Christian University, Georgia State University, Royal Holloway-University of London, Northwestern Polytechnical University from Xian, China, and CSU Fullerton,” said the program’s adviser, Kevin Grisham, who is chair of the CSUSB geography and environmental studies department

“This makes awards every year for the past 10 years — eight Outstanding Delegations, two Distinguished Delegations and two Honorable Mentions Delegations, while representing CSUSB in three countries and in New York City 10 times,” he said. “Given the fact that only four of our students out of 17 had ever been to this conference, I am extremely proud of their performance.”

In the context of CSUSB’s participation in the National Model UN and international Model UN conferences in the last 27 years, the honors place the university among the top programs in the world.

In addition, team members Cristina Sedano (majoring in environmental studies) and Jeffrey Bongga (majoring in political science and global studies) were honored with one of the 20 Outstanding Position Paper Awards, which recognizes pre-conference preparation. Sedano and Bongga, who was a member of the award-winning team at the Canada conference in the fall quarter, earned their award in the UN Environment Assembly committee.

The National Model UN’s criteria for its awards include “remaining in character, participating in committee, and proper use of the rules of procedure.”

“This was the toughest National Model United Nations venue I have attended in the 20 years I have been involved in Model UN,” Grisham said. “To win any award is highly impressive and the greatest part of this week was being approached by faculty member after faculty member and staff and being complimented on our students high preparation and professionalism during the week. They made us all proud and helped to continue the winning tradition of CSUSB.”

Past participants in the Model United Nations program have said the simulations gave them real-life experiences in diplomacy and relationship building. Some program graduates have embarked on careers in diplomacy, while others have gone on to prestigious graduate programs, such as the Harvard School of Law.

Along with Jamaica, CSUSB students represented the non-government organization Save the Children. The New York City Conference is the largest, split into two separate sessions, and generally the most competitive, attracting college students from all over the world.

To learn more about the Model United Nations program, which is housed in the university’s Department of Geography and Environmental Studies, visit the NMUN website.

To learn more about the CSUSB Model UN program, or to contribute, contact Kevin Grisham at or (909) 537-7569, and visit the CSUSB Model United Nations website