Valdosta State University’s Model UN team participated in an international Model UN conference that was held during the second week of January in the Galapagos Islands. As part of this environmentally focused simulation, the Model UN students discussed a broad range of topics including biodiversity, climate change, energy diversity and the roles of women in ensuring environmental sustainability.
Approximately 150 students from five countries participated in the conference, which was jointly hosted by the National Collegiate College Association of the United States and the Universidad San Francisco de Quito. The VSU Model UN team received the Outstanding Delegation Award as well as three Outstanding Position Paper Awards.
"This experience was a call for mindfulness in regards to the environment because of the beautiful and particular location of the Galapagos Islands,” said Fernando Ramos, a junior speech communications major and head delegate of the Model UN team. “We met wonderful individuals from universities from all over the world and discussed important and interesting topics. Together we created memories that will last a lifetime."
Before arriving in the Galapagos Islands, participants spent a couple of nights in Ecuador’s capital, Quito. Students were given a guided tour of the city, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. They also attended a welcome reception and dinner hosted by students and faculty of Universidad San Francisco de Quito.
“This was an extremely rewarding experience on many levels”, said Dr. Carol M. Glen, faculty advisor of the VSU Model UN Program. “Students had the opportunity to debate some of the world’s most pressing environmental problems in a location that is synonymous with ecological preservation.”
Unique to this conference, students participated in a community service day in order to give something back to the inhabitants of the island. The VSU team was part of a larger group that worked to remove non-indigenous plants from part of the Galapagos National Park. Following the conference, students also had the opportunity to get close to Galapagos wildlife during a snorkeling excursion and a visit to a giant tortoise habitat.
The trip was partially funded by VSU Student Activities and the Office of International Programs. For more information about VSU Model UN, contact Dr. Glen at email@example.com or visit www.valdosta.edu/modelun.