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CSUN's Model United Nations is a model for success

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Cal State Northridge's championship winning Model United Nations team. This is their fourth consecutive year winning top honors.
Courtesy of Model UN
Cal State Northridge's championship winning Model United Nations team. This is their fourth consecutive year winning top honors.

Cal State Northridge's Model United Nations on their fourth consecutive national championship and how the real UN can be improved going forward.

The United Nations is feeling the heat this week.

First - Israel is upset over a UN vote condemning its settlements in East Jerusalem.

On Sunday, President-Elect Trump came at the organization with a tweet calling it quote "so sad."

Well,  if the UN is looking for some advice on dealing with these and other issues - it might want to put a call into Cal State Northridge.

The school's Model UN won the top prize in a national competition -- for the fourth time in a row.

Take Two's Sanden Totten spoke with Jennifer De Maio, a CSUN professor, and the team's advisor, along with Eric Martinez, lead delegate for last year's championship who also advised this year's winners.

Jennifer on how Model United Nations works

"Model United Nations, it's an academic simulation of the real united nations. Students play the role of delegates from different countries and basically, try to address real world issues with the policies and perspective of their assigned countries. For example, when we went to Washington D.C. this past fall, my students were assigned the country of Angola. Then they were assigned to different UN committees and on those committees they debated with delegates from around the world about specific topics to that committee." 

Eric on the nature of the national competition

"It can be a little cut throat! It brings not only teams from the United States but from all around the world. I think it's a privilege to be able to test yourself around such intelligent individuals. but it's also exciting! There's a certain level of competition that everyone brings to the table. And yeah, it can be a little cut throat at times, but at the end of the day, when the resolution get passed, everyone's really excited and happy for one another. it ends up being a good week all around."

Eric on the United Nations being, "a club,"

"If you look at agencies such as UNICEF which helps provide long-term humanitarian assistance for children and their mothers or the world food program which helps feed 80 million people around the world each year... it's far more reaching than [President-Elect Donald Trump] is letting on.  And this is a body and an organization that is helping change the lives of millions of people who are displaced or have been forced to leave their homes and still giving them some sort of refuge. I think that's super important."

Jennifer on how to be a better diplomat when discussing important topics with others

"I think it's really important to listen to other perspectives. We all have something to bring to the table, literally, and I think learning how to listen and how to respond with actual information. And not with just repeating what we hear on social media or what we see tweeted out there, but really thinking deeply and thinking critically about what we're being exposed to."

To hear the full conversation click the blue player above.

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