For the past 13 years, New Mexico State University’s Model United Nations team has brought home top awards from the national conference held in New York City each spring. This year, three weeks before the team was headed to New York, the coronavirus pandemic hit and the conference was cancelled.
Mariana Marañón-Laguna, a senior majoring in government and psychology with a minor in history, was the president of NMSU’s Model U.N. team in 2019-2020. She wanted to ensure the team’s efforts and preparations were put to good use.
“Even though the team was disheartened over being unable to compete in New York, we did not want all of our research and knowledge about the U.N. to be in vain,” Marañón-Laguna said. “So, Neil Harvey, our team’s faculty advisor, encouraged us to give continuity to our work through the creation of a blog.”
The blog was used in April and May as a way to relay information about the United Nations’ response to the coronavirus pandemic in various arenas such as public health, sustainable development and human rights.
“We were disappointed that the National Model U.N. Conference in New York was cancelled,” said Neil Harvey, NMSU’s government department head and professor in the College of Arts and Sciences. “I was proud of how the students turned around and produced this blog about the very thing that stopped them going to New York to represent our university.”
The team had researched Sri Lanka as the country they would represent at the Model U.N. conference, but since they had spent so much time understanding how the U.N. works and what it does, they wanted to share it.
“Our blog contains updates on global carbon emissions, the launching of a COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund, how the U.S. decision to withdraw funding from the World Health Organization might affect the outcome of the pandemic and the ways in which the virus and automation are related.”
Each Tuesday and Thursday, a member would choose his or her topic and write an article that was shared with the rest of the team for feedback before the final version was posted.
Through eight posts between April and May the team members watched actions involving the United Nations and shared their analyses to help the community better understand the broader impact COVID-19 has on global issues.
“What we wanted our blog to do is to inform our readers of how the U.N. is acting in relation to the pandemic,” Marañón-Laguna said. “Not only in the global public health realm, but also in areas such as human rights, armed conflict and sustainable development.
As the world continues to fight COVID-19, the idea of global cooperation has been at the forefront of many leaders’ minds.
“It is now common to hear that the crisis opens up possibilities for a new world system to emerge, one that aspires to be more equal, inclusive, peaceful and cooperative,” Harvey said.
Some experts have suggested that this pandemic will reverse globalization, as shown by many countries that have enacted travel bans since mid-March. However, NMSU’s Model UN team would argue that this is a time when the need for global cooperation is necessary.
“Only through a joint global effort, will we mitigate the consequences of COVID-19, accelerate the development of a vaccine, and move forward into a post-COVID-19 world,” Marañón-Laguna said.
Some of the team members will be able to participate in the coming academic year and compete next spring. These students are called “veterans” since they have already gained some experience of how Model U.N. works and can help train the new team members.
To read the blog, please click here.
Author: Amanda Adame – NMSU
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