The Mercy College Team attended the first-ever virtual Model United Nations (MUN) in New York City from April 5 - 8, 2021, representing the Dominican Republic. The Team has won awards eight years in a row — every year except 2020, when the conference was cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic. This time, the team took home an Honorable Mention Delegation and three out of seven Outstanding Position Papers awards. About 900 students from around the world virtually attended the event and the Mercy College delegation had 14 members.
Jordyn Brambley, head of delegation, shared his views about the experience, “As I aspire to become a diplomat, it was an extraordinary opportunity for me. We were working very hard for this. The last few weeks, we were meeting every day, working in a group via Zoom. The pandemic created unique challenges for our delegation, and I was very proud of how my team rose to the task. The conference ended up being done through a platform called Gatherly, which was a cool opportunity to interact with others in a way we’ve never experienced before. Getting to meet the team on campus for the conference energized us all to do our best, and it paid off. I am proud of my team.”
Referring to her own speech in the conference, Davina Rest, said, “Though we all have a destination, the journey is the most important part.” The Model UN is part of my journey and has helped me build up my confidence and leadership skills. Together with the MUN team, we have achieved so much since the beginning of the semester, even though we were experiencing everything online, and I am truly thankful for Professor Kuroda’s feedback and push and for the International Relations and Diplomacy Program (IRDP)’s constant support for us.”
Loushema Lott-Coakly said, “The Model UN is not just about obtaining awards. It taught me and prepared me with life skills. I learned to be diplomatic not only within this conference but also in life. The way you represent yourself is the way people will remember and approach you, no matter what field you are in.”
Madison Mancuso said, “I cannot believe that, in Gatherly, we can do so much. I was able to approach any delegation to discuss and negotiate. I almost forgot that we were at a virtual conference. I made so many friends at the conference even during the pandemic. From the class, workshops and boot camps to the conference, I gained communication, negotiation and mediation skills, which will become handy when I become a lawyer.”
Mercy College President Timothy Hall visited the team via Zoom together with Provost Jose Herrera. Since he took his term of office, he has visited every MUN conference in Manhattan. “I am very much impressed to see all your hard work,” he said. “It is exciting to see your commitment in action.”
The team met together at the Manhattan Campus, creating connections and teamwork. Due to social distancing, each room admitted only one or two students and adhered to social distancing guidelines.
Dunnia Eljmal stated, “Knowing my classmates were there to support me while competing with other delegations was a wonderful feeling. We felt that we were not alone, competing for the same goal. The MUN created new bonds with amazing people and challenged me to improve my leadership communication and problem-solving skills. I will definitely to it again!”
The team was also visited by Dr. Stuart Sidle, dean, School of Social and Behavioral Sciences and Professor Eduardo Albrecht, Program Director, IRDP, who came to the Manhattan campus to encourage them in person at the time of the conference.
“Our biggest takeaway this year is the importance of exploring possible options at the time of challenges and adjusting to them. This is about resilience. This is what we learned and gained from this journey,” said Professor Kuroda, Faculty Adviser to the Mercy MUN team, and Visiting Fellow on the UN affairs to the Center of Global Engagement, who realized that the challenge faced by the team became an opportunity.