Category Archives: Model UN

UIMF Members at the United Nations

UIMF Participation at the United Nations General Assembly Session in New York

My name is Djiba Soumaoro, and recently I attended the United Nations General Assembly Session in New York City September 23-26, 2014, with Dr. Rusty Butler, Associate Vice-President for International Affairs and Diplomacy, Dr. Geoffrey Cockerham, Associate Professor, Utah Valley University (UVU) and Mr. Aleksei Kolesov, Protocol Officer of the Permanent mission of Belarus to the United Nations.

First and foremost, I would like to take a moment to thank Utah Valley University’s faculty, staff, and students for sponsoring our trip to New York and encouraging engaged learning. I would like to express my personal gratitude to Dr. Geoffrey Cockerham, Dr. Rusty Butler, and Mr. Kolesov for all their efforts, time, and encouragement in making this high level visit happen.


Diba Soumaoro, member of UIMF and Dr. Geoffrey Cockerham, Associate Professor, History and Political Science, UVU during the session of the U.N. General Assembly

On Tuesday September 23, 2014, general debates of the United Nations (UN) General Assembly’s Sixty-Ninth Session opened at their headquarters in New York City in the presence of more than one hundred-thirty Heads of States, Ministers, and other high officials. The President of the General Assembly was His Excellency Mr. Sam Kahamba Kutesa, Minister of Foreign and Affairs of Uganda. The main theme of the session was, “Delivering on and Implementing Transformative Post-2015 Development Agenda.” In addition, delegates also discussed urgent crises situations taking place because of the conflicts in Ukraine, South Sudan, Syria, Iraq, Palestine, and Israel along with the Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa especially the epidemics in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone.

As an International Relations’ student, this conference was one of my favorite international forums in my life. I hope to get more chances to participate in the future in gatherings at such a high level. I really enjoyed my time at the United Nations and learned a lot about global issues, the importance of effective public speaking, leadership, multicultural and diplomacy skills, and methods of problem solving among other things. I was also able to make many new friends. In my view, participating in the session of the United Nations General Assembly was like reading 193 books with each country representing a book with their own unique chapters. During the UN session you can get credible information and knowledge from presentations and interactions with higher-level officials such as presidents, prime ministers, ministers of foreign affairs, and ambassadors in the 193 members’ states of the UN. You can also learn the prospects and visions of each country in respect to global issues.


Diba Soumaoro, member of UIMF, UVU during the session of the U.N. General Assembly

Indeed, the United Nations is working on complex issues of our contemporary world and the people around the globe are waiting for long-term solutions from them. Still many people are pessimistic about the UN when it is not able to achieve its fundamental goals, which are to maintain international peace and security, to encourage international cooperation, and to promote human rights and democracy around the world.

The conference allowed for great learning and the experience was truly a pleasure while listening to statements of the world leaders studying their rhetorical skills and abilities to appeal to the audiences, in addition to their recommendations to solve various global problems. I also had a wonderful experience from studying their behavior, cultural and religious habits during the session. Overall, I think the session was very productive.

I recommend my fellow students at UVU to enroll in the Model United Nations class before deciding to participate in such a high level session at the United Nations because of the need to acquire basic knowledge about principles and goals of the United Nations. After that students will be able to complement learning theories in class with practical experiences during the real session of the United Nations General Assembly. Participation at the session has opened my mind, taught me how to interact with diverse cultures, and how to develop critical thinking. I also may say without hesitation, that attending the UN’s General Assembly provided me with skills and opportunities, which will be impossible to acquire in the classroom. For example, I saw many world leaders in person, met various international officials, and people you’d only meet at the United Nations. Additionally, my visit to the United Nations has encouraged me to study within my disciplines much harder than I did before in order to achieve my dreams of working at the United Nations, and to be a successful diplomat and ambassador for my country.

Utah Valley University should continue its support of this project as one of the best methods of engaged learning for students. It will definitely help students achieving a Political Science degree to learn more about their future careers, to develop professional skills, build relationships and to network with important people, and to find many other opportunities in order to achieve their dream. Whatever it might be such as, to work at the United Nations or international institutions dealing with development. This project and visit to the UN will help many UVU students to learn in a practical way global politics and realities, which they’ve been taught in classes. UVU is fortunate to have Dr. Rusty Butler, who contributes his energy, resources, and many years of personal efforts in building connections for UVU faculty and students with diplomatic missions of many nations accredited under the UN over the years. Thanks to his passions, hard work, and dedication UVU students have a great opportunity to be a part of the UN activities and to learn intercultural awareness through making friends in the international arena.

Attending the United Nations General Assembly Conference has helped me learn about strengths, concerns, and positions on global issues for many nations around the world, challenges in their development as sovereign and independent nations and members of the international community. I also learned that in order to be a good diplomat, I have to develop skills of being an effective public speaker, multilingual, well educated, and competent. I noticed that many diplomats were multilingual except those from the United States. I think that it will be great if more people in this wonderful country learned several languages, so they’d be polyglots. I think that knowledge of languages helps in developing friendships and making people more comfortable.

In Closing, I’d like to say that the United Nations is a great international organization that works for maintaining peace and security in the world and encouraging global cooperation. I hope one day I can work with the UN to help solve complex global issues.

DJIBA SOUMAORO, UVU student, member of UIMF

Model UN Club Observes UN General Assembly


UVU Students Getting First-Hand Experience As United Nations Interns


Four Utah Valley University students who are members of the UVU Model United Nations Club are in New York City this week observing the United Nations’ General Assembly from the inside.

Jesler Molina and Mara Orchard, from Venezuela, Paulo Macote Ambrozio, from Guinea-Bissau, and Jordan Greene of Livermore, Calif., will spend the entire week interning at the United Nations. Joining them are two UVU faculty, Brian Birch, associate vice president for engagement, and Geoff Cockerham, adviser to the Model U.N. Club.

“This is a unique, hands-on program which will directly engage our students with top world leaders,” said Rusty Butler, associate vice president for International Affairs & Diplomacy. “We do not know of any other North American university with such a program.”

The U.N. missions of Hungary, Albania, Afghanistan and Uzbekistan are providing credentials for the UVU group. The group will be allowed on the floor of the General Assembly and into committee meetings. Many heads of state are scheduled to address the U.N. this week, including the speech President Barak Obama delivered Tuesday.

“It has been amazing,” Greene said. “Brushing shoulders with some of the most influential people in the world is a little intimidating but it’s a one of a kind opportunity. Seeing President Obama speak is a rare opportunity. This is one of the more valuable experiences of my life so far.”

On Monday, Orchard and Ambrozio sat in on a Rule of Law meeting in the General Assembly with Rita Silek, Hungary’s first secretary.

“It has been a great opportunity and an amazing experience,” Orchard said. “Representatives of states at the highest level around the world and of the U.N. discussed the importance of rule of law and human rights. Cooperation was encouraged in fighting criminal organizations that are challenging our international peace and security.”

Butler said the internship opportunity is the result of the friendships generated between students and the many U.N. ambassadors who have lectured at UVU as part of the U.N. Ambassador Lecture Series. Two UVU students received credentials to the General Assembly last year and were pleased by the access it gave them to world leaders.

UVU’s lecture program has hosted U.N. ambassadors from Iraq, Afghanistan, Romania, Israel, Russia, the Czech Republic and many other nations. The U.N. ambassadors of Sri Lanka, India, Macedonia and the Philippines will be on campus to lecture in the next few months.

September 25, 2012
For Immediate Release

University Marketing & Communications: Mike Rigert (801) 863-6807
Written by:Jim Rayburn (801) 863-850


United Nations Attends First Model UN Conference

UVU Delegation Participates In First Model U.N. Conference


May 1, 2012
For Immediate Release

University Marketing & Communications: Mike Rigert (801) 863-6807
Written by: Cheryl Kamenski (801) 863-6351

A group of Utah Valley University students from the College of Humanities & Social Sciences comprised the University’s first delegation to participate in the Model United Nations Far West Annual Session, which took place April 20-24 in San Francisco.

The conference simulates the United Nations to provide an environment where students can better understand the structure and procedures of the organization.

To be eligible to serve on the UVU delegation, students were required to take a Model United Nations class taught by Geoffrey Cockerham, UVU History & Political Science assistant professor, during fall semester last year. The students then submitted an application for the seven available positions.

“The College of Humanities & Social Sciences is committed to providing engaged learning opportunities for our students. We are immensely proud of Dr. Cockerham and his team of students,” said Frederick H. White, associate dean of the college. “Their effort in applying what they have learned in the classroom for a professional conference is indicative of the practical, academic activities taking place at UVU every day.”

Each participating school represents a country or member state. UVU was assigned to represent France. Delegations are required to submit a country profile, policy papers and resolutions prior to the conference.

Due to the overall quality of the documents the students submitted, the UVU delegation was one of four countries, along with Ecuador (Miriam College, Quezon City, Philippines), Cambodia (Metropolitan State College, Denver) and the Democratic Republic of Congo (San Jose State University), asked to address the opening plenary session. The delegation selected student Paulo Macote Ambrozio to deliver the speech.

“What makes this particularly amazing is that our team did so well at our first Model United Nations competition,” said White. “I think this illustrates the commitment of our faculty, staff and students in the educational process.”

The UVU representatives also received a meritorious delegation award for its overall performance. Other members of the UVU team included Jesler Molina, Mara Orchard, Robert McMurray, Jordan Greene, Mary Shurtz and Richard Portwood.

The conference included colleges and universities in the western United States in addition to schools from Ohio, Indiana and Illinois as well as two from the Philippines. Overall, there were 90 delegations, 35 colleges and universities and approximately 500 students that participated.

To prepare for the event, which this year focused on “Cutting the Gordian Knot: Addressing the International Community’s Greatest Problems in the Twenty-First Century,” the students studied United Nations operating procedures, the issues on the agenda, the position of their assigned country on those issues and the relationship of their country to others in the region.

During the session, participants had to adhere to rules of procedure, negotiate with other delegates and attend caucuses. In addition, they were required to produce policy statements and at least one resolution regarding an issue in their committee.


UVU Model U.N. delegation, (l-r): Paulo Macote Amrozio, Mara Orchard, Robert McMurray, Jesler Molina, Richard Portwood, Mary Shurtz and Jordan Greene.