A Reception for RCCMUN

On May 25th, 2018, a reception was held in the Center for Social Justice and Civil Liberties to introduce the new director of the Center, Kishi Ducre, Ph.D and recognize the vast accomplishments of the RCCDMUN students relating to their New York conference.

The Center for Social Justice and Civil Liberties is in downtown Riverside, CA, and is home to a research museum and art gallery that puts a light on significant events that have helped shape the history of the area. The building was constructed on the motto of being “inspired by the past to enrich our future” and it shows through the beautiful architecture of the building inspired by a Churrigueresque architecture style and a Spanish baroque façade. The center is home of art pieces such as Japanese-American Mine Okubo’s to honor the hard work of those who made Riverside their home in the name of a better future for their families.

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Front Face of the Center for Social Justice and Civil Liberties

First on the agenda was the introduction of Dr. Kishi Ducre who is highly esteemed with multiple publications in the fields of environmentalism, youth, gender, and race. This includes works such as: Racialized Spaces and the Emergence of Environmental Injustice, Race(ing) to the Baby Market: The Political Economy of Overcoming Infertility, and A Place We Call Home: Gender, Race, and Justice in Syracuse.

Also attending were representatives from Congressman Mark Takano and assembly member Jose Medina, along with the Mayor of Riverside, Rusty Bailey. Each presented the members of the RCCDMUN team with an individual award marking their hard work with in the program. Along with this, the team was also given awards from the Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) National Model United Nations.

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A few members of the team posing in front of the center before the reception.

After receiving awards and being greeted by the Riverside City College Board of Trustees, several RCCDMUN students were asked to speak about their individual experiences within the program. Speakers included Gamaliel Perez, Aria Haghighat, and Rachel Lennox. What was most stunning about their speeches was not the eloquence in how they were delivered or the variety in what was said. No matter how much each member’s MUN journey was varied, each had the commonality that they said they had grown immensely through being part of the Riverside City College Model United Nations program. No matter how hard they had to work, none regretted the experience as each had obtained invaluable lessons and experiences from being able to take part.

After these heartfelt speeches, there one more surprise at the end of the reception. Dr. Dariush Haghighat, faculty advisor for the RCCDMUN program, called Rachel Lennox to the podium once more to present her with a symbolic award for all of her hard work as team captain. Lennox had led the team not only through the New York conference, but several others through the course of the past academic year. Without a doubt, she was a fantastic and caring leader whose fire and perseverance could get any job done; whether it was in committee or at team practice sessions.

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Rachel Lennox delivering her speech on how important MUN is to her.

After all was said and done, the team lamented on how lucky they were to have been able to travel to New York and how proud they were of one another for having achieved so many awards and recognitions for all of their hard work.

For having come from a community college, many members of the RCCDMUN team never believed that they could travel and see all the things that they have been able to through the program. Not only this, but no one had ever expected to find such a fantastic outlet to network and meet people with the similar interest of wanting to engage and change the world for the better. This year’s team coming from RCCD was one of the youngest and most diverse.

NYMUN 2018 – RCC is Outstanding!

From March 24th to 29th, the Riverside City College Model United Nations (MUN) team attended the New York Model United Nations conference along with over 5,000 university students from across the globe. There were 23 UN committees were students where students were able to discuss and debate issues of global pertinence. The conference was held to further understanding of the UN and the international community.

The RCC MUN team was part of several committees, including the General Assembly (GA), UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), UN Environmental Assembly (UNEA) and represented the Member State of Ukraine within the conference. Not only did the team participate in committees as delegates, but RCC student Jasmine Brown, was selected to chair a committee as well. Some of the topics discussed throughout the conference were the universal right to education, the regulation of peacekeepers, sustainable urban development, cyber warfare, and weapons of mass destruction.

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A few members of the RCCMUN team in the General Assembly.

The RCC MUN team was able to visit the Permanent Mission of Ukraine to the United Nations and had the opportunity to engage in a roundtable conversation about current international policy with an official representative of Ukraine.

Within the individual committees, students were able to give passionate speeches in the perspective of one of the 193 UN Member States they were representing at the time along with discussing with fellow students about practical solutions to global problems relating to the committee they were in. After working together for several days, all committees had several draft resolutions that were voted on to become resolutions through being voted on by the committee.

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Several students were able to view the national ‘March for Our Lives’ protest in Manhattan.

Yara Bokorquez lamented that New York was “a once in a lifetime, transformative, and unforgettable experience.”

Along with being able to engage in the committees, the RCC team was also able to visit culture centers and notable points of New York City. These sites include the 9/11 Memorial, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens, among others, and were attended in order to have a better understanding of the history and culture of NYC. Having the ability to take time away from the committees and experience the cultures of different areas is also a key aspect of MUN. The purpose of the conference was not not only to attend committee, but also to experience the world around the conference as well to have a better understanding of diverse backgrounds and ways of life.

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Just one of the many awards given to RCC’s delegation of Ukraine.

After the closing ceremony, it was announced that the RCC MUN team was given the most prestigious and highest recognition of the conference – Outstanding delegation. This being the second consecutive year that RCC MUN had held this title. Along with winning the highest award, RCC received five awards on behalf of position papers submitted to the committees for the General Assembly First Committee: Rachel Lennox and Luis Macias; the General Assembly Fifth Committee: Amy Maciel and Geby Rawung; UNESCO: Himadri Ratnayake and Yara Bojorquez; OPCW: Gamaliel Perez and Carlos Robledo; and UNEA: Tori Cox. Not only this, but Himadri Ratnayake and Yara Bojorquez also were both voted individual outstanding delegates within their committee.

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Picture taken right after RCC was announced outstanding delegation.

SIHMUN 2018 – RCC Goes to Switzerland

From February 6th through the 10th, the Riverside City College Model United Nations (MUN) team attended the Swiss International Hospitality Model United Nations Conference (SIHMUN). This conference was held within the École hôtelière de Lausanne – the oldest hospitality school in the world – in Lausanne, Switzerland.

The SIHMUN Conference centered around international policy issues which related to the industry of hospitality and tourism. Students from across Europe, the United States, and various other countries were able to convene within the conference and discuss creative ways to utilize sustainable tourism as a means of stimulating economic opportunities within local communities and to grow cultural respect within the tourism industry as well. All committees within the conference had to incorporate aspects of sustainability, gender equality, and the unique role of local communities as they discussed the topics at hand.

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The RCCMUN team sitting in one of the chambers located in the United Nations Geneva Headquarters

The opening ceremony of the conference was held at the historic Palace of Nations in Geneva – where the League of Nations convened. There were many other events held by the conference, including a World Economic Forum, Gala Dinner, and cultural trips to the UN Headquarters in Geneva and the Red Cross Museum.

RCC MUN was able to represent countries such as Egypt, Afghanistan, France, Russia, and several others. RCC delegates participated in the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), the Security Council (SC), and the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC). Some topics discussed were the European migration crisis, the effect of closed frontiers on global tourism, and sustainable tourism.

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RCCMUN immersing in Swiss culture during a beautiful Gala.

Many renowned international policymakers and influencers spoke at the conference, including Hillel Neuer – international lawyer, diplomate, and executive director of UN Watch – speaking on the history of the Human Rights Council.  Additionally, Siddhi Mehta, CEO of 108 Foods, spoke on the important topic of reducing food waste within the hospitality industry.

When asked to give her perspective of the conference, Himadri Ratnayake reflected that she “saw the perspective of the world from the grounds and buildings of another country.”

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Himadri Ratnayake in committee, discussing human rights.

Within the conference, RCC MUN amassed several individual awards and RCC’s own Tony Ramos was chosen as the only delegate to speak at the closing ceremony due to his amazing performance within committee. He spoke on the mission and vision of the conference in a five-minute speech that beautifully captured the values of the UN and captivated the audience.

All in all, SIHMUN was yet another conference where RCC MUN did a fantastic job at bolstering diplomacy and finding creative solutions to global issues. Not only was this conference a success in the aspect that RCC won many recognitions and honors, but also, if not more importantly, were able to better themselves as global citizens.

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Tony Ramos, chosen to deliver the final speech to put a perfect end to the 2018 SIHMUN conference.

IECMUN 2018 – By Students, For Students!

On Saturday, February 3rd, 2018, the Riverside City College Model United Nations (MUN) team hosted its first practice academic conference of the year for all college and high school MUN teams alike to attend – named the Inland Empire Conference MUN (or IECMUN).

This conference consisted of three committees. The United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) – for college students – focused on setting global environmental policy. Security Council (SC) – also for college students – focused on maintaining international peace. And the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) – for high school students – focused on supervising subsidiary and expert bodies on economic, social, and environmental fields. In these committees, students were able to discuss urban development as it relates to ecological restoration, women in security, and sustainable energy for all.

When asked to comment on the topics chosen to discuss at the conference, RCC MUN student Skylar Fisher commented that she, “was incredibly happy to have an outlet in which I could talk with other issues that have global problems.”

The amazing thing about this conference – and all conferences run by the RCC MUN team – is that it was completely student run. Not only did members chair the conference in individual committees, but also worked behind the scenes in order to ensure the best experience for all attending delegates. Delegates such as Gamaliel Perez, Amy Maciel, and Jasmine Brown helped students through chairing within committee by reviewing working papers and giving valuable feedback. The conference had Rachel Lennox fill the role as Secretary General, a step ahead of the actual UN which has never had a conference headed by a female..

But this is something not surprising for the RCC MUN team as it is an incredibly diverse team; teammates consisting in culture backgrounds from nations including, Sri Lanka, Mexico, and Indonesia. The extreme diversity works as a centrifuge for the team in a way which pushes the team to be more culturally aware and become global citizens. Having different perspectives not only led to the resounding success of the running of the conference but pushed RCC delegates to succeed in having a better international perspective as well.

Within the individual committees, students were able to give passionate speeches in the perspective of one of the 193 UN Member States they were representing at the time along with discussing practical solutions to global problems relating to the committee they were in. After working together for several hours, all committees had several draft resolutions that were voted on to become resolutions through being voted on by the committee.

The conference was opened with team member Tony Ramos who spoke about the importance of engaging youth into all forms of politics. In conjunction with this, he also vocalized on how much MUN had helped him open the door for more opportunities, having come from an immigrant family. At the end of the conference, in the closing ceremonies, Amy Maciel wrapped things up with a speech on unity in adversity and the importance of solidarity for global students.

After giving his speech , Ramos lamented that, “it was a great feeling to be chosen to speak at a conference which I had been able to win an award at the year before and it was an especially touching moment when I was able to speak to a body of students who were beginning the journey that I was fortunate enough to take as well.”

The RCCMUN team looks forward to next year’s conference and will be hosting another this coming November – our annual PACMUN conference. You can find out more about PACMUN on our website.

 

PACMUN 2017 A Success

On Saturday November 11th, 2017, RCC Model UN hosted its first Practice Academic Conference for Model UN (PACMUN for short). It brought together 85 students from 4 colleges and 4 high schools across southern California.

At the conference, the high school and college students worked in two committees: the high school students discussed The Protection of the Environment in Areas Affected by Armed Conflict in the UN Environmental Assembly (UNEA) committee; and the college students discussed Minimizing the Negative Impacts of Globalization in the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) committee.

 

The conference opened with remarks from advisor Dr. Dariush Haghighat, and featured several keynote speakers, including: RCC President Wolde-Ab Isaac, and RCC Board of Trustee Member Janet Green.

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Dr. Dariush Haghighat with RCC Board of Trustee Member Janet Green and RCC President Dr. Wolde-Ab Isaac.

The RCCMUN team represented various countries in the UNCTAD committee, including the United States, China, Japan, Italy, and Malaysia. In addition, four RCCMUN students chaired the two committees: Jasmin Brown and Gamaliel Perez in UNEA, and Rachel Lennox and Tony Ramons in UNCTAD.

In the committes, students gave speeches on important aspects of the topics, and formed groups to create solutions in the form of working papers. After several rounds of submitting their working papers to the committee chairs, they were accepted as draft resolutions and voted on by the committee. The UNEA committee adopted 2 draft resolutions, which addressed monitoring areas affected by armed conflict and providing aid to countries affected by armed conflict. The UNCTAD committee adopted 3 draft resolutions, which discussed expanding UNCTAD’s technical assistance program, improving fair trade policies, and trade regulations to protect the environment.

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Norco Community College President Bryan Reece, giving keynote speech at the end of PACMUN 2017.

At the closing of the conference, students heard from another RCCMUN student, Gamaliel Perez, and from Norco Community College President Bryan Reece. Several awards were also presented to 3 countries in each committee, selected by the Chairs (in the categories of Outstanding, Distinguished, and Honorable Mention), and 3 selected by their peers (Outstanding Delegate in Committee). In UNCTAD, Palestine received the Outstanding Delegate Award, USA received the Distinguished Delegate Award, and Togo the Honorable Mention Delegate Award. In UNEA, India received the Outstanding Delegate Award, Poland the Distinguished Delegate Award, and China the Honorable Mention Delegate Award.

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Dr. Dariush Haghighat with Norco Community College President Bryan Reece.

RCCMUN student Skylar Fisher, representing the United States, received the Oustanding Delegate in Committee Award and the Distinguished Delegate Award. Overall, the RCCMUN team did well at the conference, participating in writing working papers, working with many students, and even learning to Chair more effectively. The conference served as great preparation for the 12 students who were selected to attend the National Model United Nations conference in Banff, Canada.

All of us here at RCCMUN look forward to the next conference we will be hosting in February, our annual IECMUN conference. You can find more information about IECMUN at our website.

RCCMUN Team at PACMUN

The RCC Model UN Team at the conclusion of PACMUN 2017.