FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 4, 2009
Office of College Communications
WENHAM, MA-When the Harvard National Model United Nations begins its 55th session later this month, seventeen Gordon College students will represent the country of Zambia.
Gordon's team of delegates--which includes six men and 11 women--will join nearly 3,000 college and university delegates from the U.S. and 30 countries February 12-15 at the historic Park Plaza Hotel in downtown Boston. Together, they will discuss a multitude of issues at the forefront of international relations.
"The Model UN program provides an amazing opportunity to give our ideas legs. Students are challenged to interact with people from all over the world--literally and figuratively--and represent their own country as best as they can," said Dr. Paul Brink, associate professor of political studies and Gordon College advisor for the annual event. "A premium is placed on preparatory research--which appeals to Gordon's traditional strengths in academics--but also upon diplomacy, quick thinking, knowing when to compromise, and when to stand firm. This is the stuff of politics, and real opportunities (for students) such as these are rare."
Nearly 40 students applied to be a part of the Gordon delegation, and the quality of competition forced Brink and his colleagues to make difficult decisions. The selected team represents a cross section of majors and years, from international affairs and political studies to communication arts, sociology, biblical studies, history, economics and mathematics. Nine seniors, three juniors, three sophomores and two freshmen will represent Gordon's delegates, addressing specific issues such as international security, decolonization, sustainable development, human rights and the status of women.
"By representing the nation of Zambia, I am hoping to gain a more complete understanding of the United States, their role, and their power," said freshman political studies major, Phoebe Brosnan, who is also part of the A. J. Gordon scholar program. "It will be a unique experience to approach global politics from an entirely new perspective. It is my responsibility to keep Zambia's best interest in mind, requiring me to form new 'biases' that view the United States as an international superpower and perhaps even an obstacle."
Gordon's delegate teams have always represented an African country; in years past countries have included Angola, Uganda, and Kenya. Brink says the Model UN experience challenges students to think and work in new ways about their country and the issues facing them as well as the nature of politics and diplomacy.
"Though the students return exhausted--they live on little sleep and lots of caffeine over the weekend--for me as a professor watching all the learning going on around us is pretty exciting," Brink said.