By Staff Reports
(Victorville)–A combination of diplomacy, vigilance and perseverance garnered six top awards, including “Outstanding Delegation,” for Victor Valley College’s (VVC) 19-member team at the National Model United Nations Conference April 2-7 in New York City.
VVC’s team competed against 5,100 students representing some 350 colleges and universities from around the globe in the annual competition. In addition to the top team award, the students also won, four Outstanding Committee Position Papers awards, and one Outstanding Committee award.
The annual conference aims to provide a diverse group of students a forum for addressing global concerns in a “real world” setting.
Dino Bozonelos, assistant professor in the Department of Social Sciences, who also serves as director of VVC’s Model United Nations Program, said he was proud of the team’s performance in the challenging environment.
“Our team demonstrated an amazing level of professionalism under intense pressure, and a true understanding of the value of diplomacy,” Bozonelos said. “They faced stiff competition from universities and graduate schools and were rewarded for their leadership. I couldn’t be prouder.”
During the conference each institution is assigned to represent a country and students are placed on various simulated UN committees to advance their country’s views and develop viable resolutions. This year the VVC team was assigned the tiny African nation of Djibouti.
Throughout the conference, students are graded on their ability to remain in character as an UN delegate, their level of committee participation and the use of UN procedures and rules, as well as their leadership abilities in a committee setting.
The pressure, however, intensified with the approach of some teams.
Mariah Woods, a 20-year-old VVC business student, characterized some of their fellow delegates as ruthless.
“It was much different than the Washington D.C. conference I had attended. This competition was cutthroat,” Woods said. “I wasn’t used to that and we had focus on how we do it, and not conform to their level of competition. We kept our composure, we acted with diplomacy, we were friendly and we had to keep constant watch. We didn’t sleep much.”
During the five-day conference, VVC’s reputation for success was met with great resistance by many teams. The VVC team has won nine times in its 11 years of participation in the conference since 2002. Seven of the nine awards were for “Outstanding Delegation.”
As a result of VVC’s success, other faculty advisors encourage their students to work with VVC students each year, including teams from Manhattan College and Euromed Management, a graduate school from Marseilles, France.
“This has been an incredible experience,” Woods said. “It prepares you for the real world by teaching how to keep your composure, adapt to situations, be diplomatic, work in groups and speak in public settings.”
Funding for this program was provided by Wells Fargo , the Victor Valley College Foundation and members of the VVC Model United Nations team.
Team members include: Monica Attia, Sabrina Brothers ,Caleb Brown, Isabel Hernandez, Mariela Hernandez, Dakota Higgins, Michael Huston, Richard Lara, Ashlei McPherson, Britnee Messer, Kimberly Moreno, Diego Padilla, Rebecca Parra, Kelli Pribble, Alexander Rudolph, Christopher Shoup, Michael Sweatt, Kanikka Wofford and Mariah