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 Outstanding Delegation Award.

The team, representing the country of Burundi, received its award in the UN’s Grand Hall at the end of the annual conference, which ran from April 1-5. Team members also were awarded Outstanding Position Paper honors for their work in the conference’s General Assembly Committee and the United Nations Environment Assembly.

The New York conference is the largest and oldest of the Model UN gatherings, taking place over two sessions (March 24-28 and April 1-5) with more than 5,000 students from more than 100 countries participating.

The Outstanding Delegation award is the latest honor in the past 32 years (the university has participated in the program for 47 years) where the program has been honored with either a Distinguished Delegation or Outstanding Delegation award, the National Model UN’s top recognitions.

Yet, it’s more than awards. The CSUSB Model UN program develops leadership skills of its student delegates who come from all academic disciplines, gives them a broader perspective of the world, and a high level of professionalism in their chosen careers.

This year’s team, led by faculty advisors Eric Lowe and Jennifer Alford, are:

  • Alexander Edsell, graduate student, information systems and technology, cybersecurity
  • Pedro Hernandez, graduate student, social science and globalization
  • Robert Martinez-Velasco, undergraduate, cybersecurity
  • Ethan Silva, graduate student, finance
  • Luis Fernando Lizama, undergraduate student, history
  • Kayla Seamons, undergraduate student, psychology
  • Evelia Cruz, undergraduate student, art
  • Yussif Kanbar, graduate student, communication studies
  • Emmanuel Javed, undergraduate student, biology
  • Sai Chandrahas Kaveripakam, graduate student, cybersecurity

The student delegates prepared for the conference through most of the spring semester, meeting once a week for about four hours, learning about the structure and workings of the UN, and how, as perhaps the most important intergovernmental organization in the world, it addresses problems and challenges in the global community. They also developed skills in public speaking, negotiation, conflict resolution and policy writing – and how to do so in a collaborative effort when policy agendas might appear to be in conflict with each other.

The National United Nations Conference in New York City has its roots in the intercollegiate Model League of Nations simulation that was held at Syracuse University in 1927. The conference became National Model United Nations in 1967 and CSUSB’s Model UN students have been participating in the conference since its founding as first a club in 1977 by Professor Emeritus Brij Khare, CSUSB Department of Political Science, and later as an academic program by Professor Emeritus Ralph Salmi, CSUSB Department of Political Science. 

Salmi was succeeded as program director by Kevin Grisham, currently CSUSB’s interim associate vice president for Faculty Affairs & Development and himself a university and Model UN alumnus. Sina Bastami followed as director, with Lowe as coordinator for the 2024 team. Both Bastami and Lowe also are CSUSB Model UN alumni.

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.

Visit the CSUSB Model United Nations website to learn more about the program, as well as the National Model United Nations website..