Mac students awarded top honours at United Nations
A group of McMaster students have won a number of prizes, including the "Best Large Delegation" award, during a conference held recently at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City.
The group, made up of 11 McMaster students, were at the United Nations for the WFUNA Model United Nations conference, which brought together 1500 students from around the world and gave them the opportunity to participate in the resolution writing and decision-making processes at the UN.
At the conference – hosted by the World Federation of United Nations Associations* (WFUNA) – student delegates received training and briefings delivered by UN officials and worked together to develop resolutions aimed at building peaceful, just and inclusive societies.
McMaster students won the "Best Large Delegation" award – one of the top prizes presented at the conference – for their overall contribution to this process.
McMaster students Jessica Jacob and Michael Coomber, both Health Sciences students, and Philosophy student Salvatore Sbrega, were also recognized, each wining "Diplomacy Awards" for their individual efforts in helping to shape the resolutions.
A unique honour was given to Natasha Jakac-Sinclair, a fourth-year biology student, minoring in Political Science, who was elected President of the Youth General Assembly by the delegates at the conference.
As President, Jakac-Sinclair presented the resolutions developed by student delegates in front of the actual UN General Assembly, where they were passed and will be implemented.
"It was an incredible experience," says Jakac-Sinclair, who also led the McMaster delegation. "My role was to open the session, set the topics of debate, to oversee all the writing processes, help students from all around the world to think of gaps they might be missing, and help them start thinking about ways they could implement the goals they were coming up with into their daily lives."
Jakac-Sinclair, a member of the Hamilton United Nations Association who participated in the conference last year, was invited by conference organizers to return this year and to bring with her a delegation of McMaster students.
The students, who come from a number of Faculties across campus, were selected through an application process.
"They come from a range of disciplines and bring with them a variety of experiences and skills," says Jakac-Sinclair. "I'm proud that we were able to all come together to represent McMaster and to help facilitate global dialogue on an international level."
McMaster was the only University from Canada invited to attend the conference.
*The World Federation of United Nations Associations (WFUNA) is a global nonprofit organization representing and coordinating a membership of over 100 national United Nations Associations.