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CSUSB Model United Nations Program

Overview

The CSUSB Model United Nations (MUN) Program is an interdisciplinary program that attracts students from a variety of academic disciplines who are interested in the study of global affairs and the United Nations system. The MUN Program allows CSUSB students to gain a scholarly understanding of global affairs and gain hands-on experience with conflict resolution, mediation, debate, negotiation, and diplomacy. Students who participate in the MUN Program also serve as delegates on the CSUSB Model United Nations team. This team represents an assigned country at the National Model United Nations conference every year in New York City and various other international NMUN conferences (for example, NMUN-Korea, NMUN-Europe, and NMUN-Canada).

Each year, CSUSB MUN students are assigned countries and international non-governmental organizations (INGOs) to represent at a variety of MUN conferences they participate in nationally and globally.  For ten or more weeks, CSUSB MUN students study every aspect of the country and INGO they have been assigned.  This includes their historical development, culture, language, politics, economics and their overall place in the international community and more specifically, within the UN system.  The students also prepare on representing the country and/or INGO in a UN committee and the agenda of topics before that committee.  At the conference, which is usually a week to a week and half long (depending on the conference), the students then speak of the issues before their assigned committee, present their country’s/NGO’s positions and then work with other countries and NGO’s to create solutions to the agenda topics at hand.  The students’ performance is judged by the staff of the conference (experienced professionals in global affairs occupations) and three types of awards are given – Outstanding Delegation (top prize), Distinguished Delegation (second place prize) and Honorable Mention.  Additionally, each university’s delegation is required to write a two-page summary (position paper) of their country’s/NGO’s position on the topics before each committee they are assigned to at the conference.  An Outstanding Delegation Award is given to that delegation who are judged to have done the best pre-conference preparation.  This judgment is based on the position papers submitted prior to the conference.

Both programs have been recognized numerous times for their excellence in teaching students about global issues and raising global awareness amongst CSUSB students.  These recognitions have come in the form of many Outstanding Delegation Awards at the National Model United Nations (NMUN) Conferences (both in the U.S. and overseas) for over 20 years.  Additionally, the CSUSB MUN Program has won the Outstanding Delegation Award at regional MUN conferences – for example, the Northwest Model United Nations Conference in Seattle in 2014.  Additionally, CSUSB MUN students have been recognized at these conferences for their individual achievements both in writing and leadership.  CSUSB MUN students have won the Outstanding Position Paper at almost every conference they have attended for the past twenty years.

The Success of the CSUSB Model United Nations Program

The CSUSB MUN Program participates in a variety of national and international MUN conferences every year.  Most prominently, the CSUSB MUN Program has participated in the National Model United Nations (NMUN) Conference in New York City for over forty years.

The National Collegiate Conference Association (NCCA), a non-governmental organization associated with the United Nations, sponsors the National Model United Nations (NMUN). The NMUN Conference is the largest conference of its kind in the world with the top universities and colleges from five of the seven continents participating at the conference, including some of the premier universities and colleges in the U.S. (e.g., John Hopkins University, Yale University, and Princeton University). In previous years, the participation has topped 4,000 students in attendance from over 200 universities and colleges. The NMUN Conference was started with the formation of the real UN in 1945. Before that development, there was a Model League of Nations -- making the NMUN conference the largest and oldest of its kind in the world.

California State University, San Bernardino is one of the oldest participants in the NMUN Conference and one of the most successful. Every year the conference gives an “Outstanding Delegation Award” to the top teams (i.e., approximately 7 to 12 per year are given). This award is based on country representation, diplomatic technique, writing and speaking skills, and knowledge of international affairs. CSUSB -- under the guidance of Dr. Ralph Salmi, Professor Emeritus of Political Science, brought 11 Outstanding Delegation Awards (the top award presented at the conference) from 1998 to 2007. This tradition was continued since 2008 with CSUSB students being awarded Outstanding Delegation under the guidance of Dr. Kevin Grisham.

Over these years, the MUN team has represented a variety of countries including Malaysia, Uzbekistan, India, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh, Iraq, the Philippines, Egypt, Israel, Germany, Morocco, and the United States.  CSUSB has also represented two non-governmental organizations and won Outstanding Delegation in 2015 and Distinguished Delegation (second place) in 2014 for representing Doctors without Borders and Third World Network, respectively. 

The Success of CSUSB MUN Students Continues After College

The success of CSUSB MUN students persists after students leave CSUSB.  Many alumni of the program have continued to excel in their chosen educational and career paths.  Alumni have attended some of the most prestigious graduate programs and law schools in the world following their time at CSUSB.  Harvard University, Pepperdine University, University of Southern California, University of California-Riverside, and the University of Denver are but a few of the places that CSUSB MUN alumni have attended.  These alumni have used their experience in the CSUSB MUN Program as a beginning to the future careers in international affairs, law, and public policy.  Combined with their graduate school experience, numerous individuals from the CSUSB MUN Program are making differences in the world today in many areas.

CSUSB MUN alumni use the knowledge and experience they gained from MUN to continue to give back to society.  CSUSB MUN alumni can be found working in local, county, state and federal government agencies.  Among CSUSB MUN alumni are city council members, California State Assembly members, and those employed by the federal government.  A few alumni have gone to work for the United Nations itself and the various non-governmental organizations that contribute to the work of the U.N.

Additionally, CSUSB alumni can also be found teaching in local elementary and high schools in Southern California and in institutions of higher education.  They often share their MUN experience with their students to develop the next generation of leaders.  Due to this fact, many MUN programs (high school and collegiate) in Southern California have a connection with the program at CSUSB.  Alumni from CSUSB have created the successful MUN programs at CSU San Marcos, Victor Valley College, assisted in the redevelopment of the MUN program at UC Riverside and continue to help build various high school MUN programs throughout the Inland Empire.

Support for the CSUSB Model United Nations Program

The CSUSB Model UN Program is housed within the Department of Geography and Environmental Studies.  In this capacity, the department provides the administrative support for the program.  Prior to the program being housed in the Geography and Environmental Studies Department, the MUN Program was housed in the Department of Political Science at CSUSB from its founding until 2007.

Financial support for the program comes in three forms – funding through the Instructionally Related Programs (IRP) committee at CSUSB, funding from the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences and funds donated by both campus and local community members.  The first two categories have generally been limited but various community leaders – such as Ms. Elaine Rosen, Esq. – have been generous in donating funds to support the program and student participation in the MUN conferences nationally and globally.  Students in the program are also required to raise monies through a variety of means to assist in covering the costs of traveling to and participating in the conferences.

To Join the CSUSB MUN Program, go to Join MUN/MAL.