PSU Students Travel to Taiwan for World Model UN Conference

April 5th, 2010 by Adam

PLYMOUTH, N.H.-
When aspiring teacher Reuben Fuchs stands before a classroom of high school students and starts a lesson on social studies, he will be speaking with a broad range of impressive experience acquired in a unique Plymouth State University course.

Fuchs, a junior Social Science education major, and seven other Plymouth State students in Dr. Filiz Otucu’s Model United Nations Lab course recently travelled to Taipei, Taiwan for the World Model UN Conference, organized by Harvard University. More than 1,800 students from 50 countries around the world participated, offering delegates a chance to debate, problem-solve, and negotiate on the world’s most pressing issues like terrorism, health care, refugee protection, disarmament and human rights. Fuchs said the experience was priceless.

“I will be able to relate to my class the experience and knowledge I gained there,” Fuchs said. “Getting to talk with people from all over the world who have a different type of government and way of life, knowing people from Pakistan, Columbia, Egypt, Australia and Venezuela, I can bring that into my work later on.”

PSU group in Taiwan
PSU students and staff at the 2010 World Model UN Conference. The group poses in front of Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall in Taipei, Taiwan. From left to right, Errign Howard-Crowley, Kendra Bumpus, Reuben Fuchs, Alyssa Babb, Justin Jacques, Dr. Filiz Otucu, Kaily Nash, Cory Flack and Lindsay Harrington.

Otucu, an assistant professor of political science, said the international experience prepares students for a successful future.

“What is most valuable from the Model UN experience is the students developing teamwork and leadership skills,” Otucu said. “I want my students to be global citizens, to learn about other cultures, other peoples’ point of view and develop conflict resolution and negotiation skills that will help them in whatever career they choose.”

PSU’s Kendra Bumpus received the Diplomacy Award (Best Delegate Award) for her performance in debating a health policy question.

“As far as the Best Delegate Award, it can’t be overstated how rewarding it was to see Plymouth State University projected larger than life in the Sun-Yat sen Memorial Hall, where just days before the President of Taiwan addressed us all at the Opening Ceremonies,” Bumpus said.

“Bigger than all of that is the sense of connection you gain with the rest of the global community; a broader sense of who and what you are in society and what you can be; an agent for change. From this experience you gain a hopeful perspective and goals for the future of our world, and the empowerment that comes from a practical knowledge of how to effect those changes.”

Kaily Nash of Franconia, a senior marketing majoring, said the 28 hours of travelling to the Model UN conference was arduous, but well worth the experience of learning on an international stage.

“We are here to really hone in on our skills in debate, persuasion and public speaking,” said Nash. “For instance, some people who rarely speak in front of a classroom got to address a crowd of 200 from all around the world. That experience really raises your confidence.”

Last year, PSU students travelled to the Model UN event in Amsterdam. Otucu’s students have also travelled to Mexico, London, Ecuador, New York City and Boston for Model UN events. In addition, PSU has hosted an annual Model UN high school conference on campus for the past three decades to make New Hampshire high school students more aware of the importance of politics and the United Nations.

For more information about this release, contact Bruce Lyndes, PSU Media Relations Mgr., (603) 535-2775 or blyndes@plymouth.edu

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