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Friday, April 20, 2018 - 12:45pm

Mercy’s delegation won several awards at the National Model United Nations (NMUN) conference in New York last month: an Honorable Mention Delegation award, five Outstanding Position Paper awards — the second highest number of any college or university attending the conference — and an Outstanding Delegates in Committee award for students’ work in the International Organization for Migration (IOM) committee.


Their preparation and hard work paid off. “This was the highest performance for Mercy College in our history of [participating in] the Model United Nations,” explained Michiko Kuroda, the faculty advisor for Mercy’s delegation and Mercy’s Model United Nations Club. An adjunct professor in the International Relations and Diplomacy program in the School of Social and Behavioral Sciences, she worked for the United Nations for 30 years in Geneva, New York, and Timor-Leste before coming to Mercy several years ago. “Since 2012, Mercy College has been winning awards at National Model UN’s New York conference but never so many,” she says. “The students participating in the conference went beyond their comfort zone and pursued excellence, resulting in outstanding awards.”


The conference was both “challenging” and “gratifying,” students explained — and very worthwhile. “I have certainly transformed through the Model UN conference,” asserts Kanki Morizon. “I am so proud of myself and Mercy College.”


The world’s largest intercollegiate Model United Nations conference, NMUN aims to help students understand the United Nations and contemporary international issues. As student teams represent an assigned country in a simulated United Nations session, they learn to appreciate differing viewpoints, gain skills in debate and negotiation, and broaden their understanding of international relations.


Mercy was one of over 220 colleges and universities participating in the conference, approximately half of which were from outside the United States. Mercy’s team represented New Zealand this year and participated in ten committees, including the General Assembly First, Second and Fifth Committees, Organization for Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, the United Nations Environment Assembly, and the World Health Organization.

Mercy students appreciated the challenges and the opportunities the conference offered. Ellen Lono, Mercy’s co-head delegate at this year’s NMUN conference and co-president of Mercy’s Model United Nations club explains, “After months of preparation, I finally got to make use of all my research and hard work when interacting with people from all over the world. I shared ideas and created initiatives to find solutions to the world’s most pressing issues.” And Nicolls Argenio felt “grateful for getting to experience a competitive environment where there is room to grow and so much to learn, not only about ourselves but from students from all parts of the world.”


Educational simulations like Model United Nations are very much in line with the experiential learning Mercy values. Mercy College President Timothy Hall visited the NMUN conference and reported that he felt “very much inspired by the students.” And Provost José Herrera said, “I would like to see more students from other majors join such a team. This is about transformational education!”


Indeed, the students see the experience as transformational too: “Participating in the Model United Nations is one of the most rewarding experiences of my life,” reflects Mercy student Nicholas Sorice. “Every challenge it presents prepares its participants for the challenges of the real world.”


Students who wish to join Mercy’s award-winning Model United Nations team are encouraged to contact Prof.  Michiko Kuroda at