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Model U.N. in Big Apple

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Over spring break, eight students from Lewis & Clark impersonated government officials from Myanmar (a.k.a. Burma) and infiltrated the United Nations Headquarters in New York City. But don’t worry—they weren’t arrested. They were in the Big Apple to attend the National Model United Nations Conference, one of the largest and most prestigious collegiate Model United Nations programs in the world.

“This past year, the leadership of Lewis & Clark’s Model U.N. Club was amazingly gung-ho,” says Richard Peck, professor of international affairs and the club’s adviser. “Everyone was active—not only the two elected officers, Landon Mascarenaz ’05 and Clay Eaton ’06, but also other members of the club.” Peck credits Dawson Law ’05 as the “mover and shaker” behind the New York trip.

“We’ve always attended regional events, but this year, we wanted to attend the international conference,” says Law. “When we saw it coincided with spring break, we knew we could do it.”

Lewis & Clark’s Model U.N. Club totals about 20 students, eight of whom committed to the trip. They received funding from the student government’s general allocation board, bought their own plane tickets, and holed up in a single hotel room in New York to save cash.

The National Model U.N. is designed to give students an opportunity to better understand the inner workings of the U.N. while building skills in diplomacy and compromise. “The other delegates were very hard core, very well prepared,” says Eaton.

According to the Lewis & Clark contingent, one of the highlights of the trip was meeting with the consul general of Myanmar. “It was her last day on the job, so she was very open with us,” says Paul Bingham ’05. “We learned that there’s a lot more commonality between humans than politics would suggest.”

What’s on tap for next year’s club members? Even adviser Peck isn’t sure, but he says he has every faith they will manage to pull off another trip “or perhaps something even grander.”

What about for Peck? He recently learned that Oregon Govenor Ted Kulongoski appointed him honorary United Nations Day Chair for the state.

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