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From left, Dr. Samantha Pettey, Kaitlin Wright ’18, Anika Pommers-Dear ’17, Nikki Logiudice ’17, Nick Bassett ’19, Victoria Munoz ’19, Sam Payne ’18, Dr. Dave Cupery, Makayla Parkin ’18, Sam Broderick ’18, Justin Therrien ’19, Charlie Weissefellner ’18, Mike McAndrew ’18, Drew Weisse ’18 and Miles Bierylo ’18 stop at Niagara Falls on the way back from Toronto.

Model UN Conference Provides Unique Perspectives

05/03/17

Nicole Loguidice ’17 got a whole new, behind-the-scenes perspective on the unrest in the Middle East earlier this semester after she was called upon to represent the Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani on the Coalition High Command and Provisional Authority.

The history major from Guilderland, N.Y., served on one of five committees that focused on the global war on terror at this year’s North American Model United Nations (NAMUN) conference at the University of Toronto in Ontario, Canada. Each year, MCLA students head north to participate in this event.

During the conference, Loguidice’s task was to plan the 2003 invasion of Iraq, then ruled by Saddam Hussein, and to rebuild the Iraqi government from the ground up.

“The War on Terror truly is something that touches all realms of the world. Studying the inner workings of our government’s decisions gave me a real-life perspective of what our leaders have had to deal with recently,” Loguidice said (pictured right, top).

She enjoyed taking on a role so different from herself.

“I took my job of representing the Ayatollah very seriously. Making sure that I upheld what he stands for in real life was important to me,” she said. “After the four-day conference, it was hard to take myself out of my role. It really became a part of who I am.”

Victoria Muñoz ’19 of Plymouth, Mass., (pictured right, bottom) played a delegate from Sweden in a General Assembly of the United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees. As such, she took on the global refugee crisis as the members of her committee focused on the crisis in Europe and the Rohingya refugee crisis in Southeast Asia.

“The committee was set in the present day, so the issues were constantly evolving,” explained Muñoz, who is a double major in sociology and political science. “So, even while I was at the conference, I had to stay informed on the most recent events surrounding refugees globally.”

Because Sweden has taken in more refugees per capita than any other nation in the world, “It was definitely interesting to play the role of a country that has such liberal migration rhetoric and policies,” Muñoz said.  

Like Loguidice, Muñoz enjoyed stepping outside her comfort zone to be authentic to her role.

“The best part was becoming so knowledgeable about a certain country and issue. I had an interest in refugees before, but after this experience I am much more passionate about refugee rights,” Muñoz said.

“This experience provided me with a tangible experience that encompasses what I am learning in my political science and sociology classes,” she added. “I am a strong believer in the value of travel and experiential learning, even if it is just over the border to Canada. Model UN was an excellent experience, both academically and personally."