In late March, the University of Lynchburg sent a contingent to the National Model United Nations in New York City. Over the five-day event, the 17 students represented Estonia.
For months, the students had been working to articulate their political positions. Advised by Dr. Sabita Manian, associate dean of the Lynchburg College of Arts and Sciences, they carefully researched Estonian policy in areas such as nuclear disarmament, humanitarian and disaster relief assistance, and modernizing technology within peacekeeping operations.
In addition to their research, they composed detailed position papers, which revolved around two or three policy areas, and worked on speeches. During the last class before the trip to New York, the students presented their speeches on the steps of Hopwood Hall.
For many of the students, it was their first time traveling through Washington, D.C., or on to New York City. “New York was an incredible experience,” Davion Washington ’21 said. “It was a bit of a culture shock, but a necessary one for navigating the world in the future. As a political science major, stopping in Washington, D.C., was incredibly special to me, as it was my first time being there. I know that I’ll be back soon.”
Work started quickly upon their arrival to New York, beginning with an opening ceremony. The next several days were packed with committee meetings, where students gave their previously written speeches, and some improvised ones, and began writing legislative policy.
The Lynchburg contingent was split up into several committees based upon their legislative areas. In these committees, students advocated for policies that would benefit Estonia by writing, sponsoring, and signing legislative proposals.
During the trip, the Lynchburg delegation also visited the Estonian Embassy, where they talked with representatives from the Northern European country. Students also were given the unique opportunity to sit in the United Nations General Assembly Hall and listen to policy speeches from each university’s head delegate. The speeches covered many different policy areas and were given by students from across the globe, including Lynchburg’s own Dylan McLaurin ’19.
When it was all said and done, the University of Lynchburg won awards for three of its position papers and was named an Honorable Mention Delegation.
“I have witnessed our Model UN students’ hard work, diligence and splendid oratory and written performance,” Dr. Manian said. “Their sophisticated quality of writing of their position papers, as if they were indeed experts in the respective field, was praised by the Permanent Mission of Estonia. The students who participate in the Model UN are indeed some of our very best students and eight of the 18 students are from Westover Honors.”