Flagler Model UN coming to fruition

By Kelly Gibbs | gargoyle@flagler.edu

Flagler students Patrick Ferguson and Natalia Andino, president and vice present of the Flagler Model UN, were all smiles when they sat down to discuss how excited they were about the club.

The Model UN Flagler team was given the okay to become an academic club on Monday, November 29 and is kicking it into high gear for next semester. Flagler Model UN, short for United Nations, is a team of students who go to conferences that are regional, national or international and debate how to solve theoretical global problems while acting as a specific country that they are assigned.

“It takes a lot of work but it’s really rewarding,” Andino said. “It’s great for getting public speaking and professional experience too.”

Andino said her favorite part of the conferences is giving her first speech, which she described as an adrenaline rush because it’s an important first impression to delegates from other schools, as well as the chairman of the conference.

At one of their most recent conferences at Embry Riddle, the team was split and assigned countries from Africa or parts of N.A.T.O. and had to discuss topics that are very real concerns in our world today.

“It really helps you understand the world more and connect events going on around the world and in the news,” said Daniel Lonergan, who won honorable mention at the conference.

Although Ferguson just started, some of the Flagler Model UN members did it in high school like Lonergan.

“It was my first time doing it so at the [Atlanta] conference, when we got split up, I panicked a little but I felt really good when I figured it out and I ended up being really passionate about my topic,” said Ferguson, whose topic was racism in Haiti.

The Model UN team will be taking it a lot more seriously next semester and want to build their home team at Flagler. They’re holding open sessions at their meetings on Tuesday nights and want as many students as possible to join.

“They can sit in at the sessions and just see the politics of it and how it goes, but we really want to get an impressive home team going,” Ferguson said.

They both agree that Model UN meets are a great place to network and meet people who are scouting for jobs.

“It’s also a great way to get into grad school,” Andino said.

Though it’s not completely set in stone, Ferguson and Andino are planning a conference at Flagler in March 2011 and hope it will be a success.

“In order to do well, we need to build a more impressive team,” Andino said.

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