Global Awareness of Cottey Students Grows at Model United Nations



By Beth Hammock, Executive Director of Marketing and Communication, and Kidest Ketema, Class of 2019

Cottey College students who attended the Midwest Model United Nations include in the front row: Christi-Anne Beatty, Htet Thazin Lwin and La Min Thiri. Back row: Kidest Ketama, Joan Dwomoh-Okudzeto and Rebeca Dorantes. Not pictured: Rimsa Upreti

Cottey College believes students will become better leaders when they are more globally aware. We want them to learn about cultures, politics, economics and much more. So when seven students returned from the 59th Midwest Model United Nations in late February, we were thrilled to hear their enthusiasm!

At the Model U.N. in St. Louis, students acted as if they were United Nations diplomats. The goal was to gain a better understanding of global issues and the role of the United Nations. Five of the seven Cottey students who attended are international students, which enhanced the exchange of ideas at the conference.

“I am both an international student and a freshman, and this experience opened my eyes to the broader outside world,” said Htet Thazin Myo Lwin, a native of Myanmar. “It introduced me to the world of diplomacy and lots of intellects from other universities and colleges, and that truly inspired me.”

Each institution at the Model U.N. represents a country. Cottey was assigned Morocco. Students serve on committees existing at the real U.N.

Lwin was Morocco’s representative for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). This committee is responsible for promoting collaboration among states regards science, technology, communication, and education that will help secure international peace and security. She researched and presented on three topics: Return and Restitution of Cultural Property; Traditional Knowledge Systems; and Bioethics and the Human Genome.

La Min Thiri, also from Myanmar, was Morocco’s delegate on the Second Committee, one of the principal organs of the General Assembly. She researched and presented on Women in Development and Implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity.

“I learned how to negotiate, persuade and cooperate with other countries,” Thiri says. “Also, I was able to keep calm when encountering a disagreement, exhibiting decorum and using diplomatic language at all times. Overall, it was a great experience, and I believe anyone wanting to become a politician or is interested in politics should attend this conference at least once.”

Christi-Anne Beatty, of Lakeside Park, Kentucky, and Rimsa Upreti, of Nepal, were First Committee delegates of Morocco. This committee works toward addressing issues such as disarmament and the threats of international peace and security. Within the committee, each country can discuss their positions on disarmament-related matters. Beatty and Rimsa researched and presented on The Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All its Aspects and The Role of Science and Technology in the Context of International Security and Disarmament.

“This was a great experience for me, as I got to learn how important the interdependence of   countries in the world is for the secured future of everyone,” says Upreti. “This was indeed one of the best experiences I have had in my life!”

Her partner agrees about the conference being a life-changing experience.

It was the most exciting, shaping, mentally challenging and educational four days of my life!” Beatty says. “I was able to speak with delegates from other countries about United Nations programs like UNODA and UNICEF that could help link developed and developing countries. I am extremely thankful for the opportunity to have this experience and recommend it greatly.”

Kidest Ketema, from Ethiopia, was a Second Committee delegate of Morocco. This committee carries out an agenda that ranges from social, humanitarian and cultural issues. The main focus of the committee’s work is on the examination of human rights questions, such as advancement of women, the protection of children, refugees and racism. She researched and presented on Promoting the Inclusion of Women and Youth in Governance and the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

“The lesson I got from this conference is how to be diplomatic and a better future leader,” Ketema says. “For anyone interested, I would suggest they take advantage of this rewarding opportunity.”

Joan Dwomoh-Okudzeto, of Ghana, was on the Fourth Committee of the General Assembly. The Fourth Committee is responsible for issues such as decolonization, international cooperation for the peaceful uses of outer space, effects of atomic radiation, assistance to Palestinian refugees and peacekeeping operation. She researched and presented on International Cooperation in the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space, and Assistance in Mine Action.

“This program broadened my intellect by exposing me to areas that involved improving lives of people all across the world,” Dwomoh-Okudzeto says. “It was an amazing experience that was full of interesting events that go on in the United Nations.”

Rebeca Dorantes of Park Forest, Illinois, was the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) delegate of Morocco. This committee acts as a forum for member states to discuss economic, social, development and environmental issues. Topics she researched and presented include South-South Cooperation, the Use of Restorative Justice Systems and Sustainable Alternative Development.

“Model U.N. was a powerful program, allowing students to come together to discuss global issues in an environment that promotes cooperation knowledge, and diplomacy,” Dorantes says. “It is a wonderful experience.”

Dr. Kanji Watanabe accompanied the students to St. Louis. He is an associate professor of political science/international relations at Cottey College. Originally from Japan, Dr. Watanabe has traveled to more than 40 countries and uses this experience in the classroom. 

Cottey College offers degrees in political science, international business, international relations, organizational leadership and many other liberal arts and science fields related to the topics the students researched and presented at the Model U.N. Learn more about Cottey’s degree programs here.

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