UWI students hunt glory at Harvard forum
THE University of the West Indies' Department of Government, Mona, is expecting major returns on its investment in 10 students and a lecturer representing the institution at this year's Harvard National Model United Nations (HNMUN) in Boston, Massachussets.
The 10 students, and UWI lecturer in the Department of Government, Dr Omar Hawthorne, left the island last week for the US to participate in the 2014 Model UN forum, which started on Thursday and ends today.
"I am very confident that they will not just represent the UWI, Mona, but Jamaica on a whole, very well," said Head of the Department of Government at Mona, Dr Lloyd Waller.
"The department is seriously focused on broadening the scope of our students' engagements, locally and internationally. The more practical exposure, the better. This is absolutely critical to ensuring that our students are well rounded and ready for the world, no matter where they go," Dr Waller added.
HNMUN serves as a forum in which students from colleges and universities around the globe meet in a United Nations format, to discuss the most pressing challenges facing the world today. Top performers are awarded at the end for their efforts. This year, participants will address a number of issues, including drug decriminalisation and Latin American-European Union trade relations.
The UWI students say that their objective is to help the institution reclaim the accolade of "best university in the region".
Dr Hawthorne pointed out that the delegation of students is drawn from different faculties, more specifically: Social Sciences, Medical Sciences, Law, Science and Technology, as well as Humanities and Education.
"This not only embodies the diversity of the UWIMUN Club, but is also reflective of the plethora of areas within the United Nations," he said.
The delegation of UWI students is being led by Donavan Johnson, president of UWIMUN, who said that in addition to portraying the very best that UWI Mona has to offer, it is hoped that the delegates will come to appreciate the complexities of international cooperation and diplomacy.
"The practical experience that the conference offers will better enable the delegates to 'think globally while acting locally', which sums up the motto of UWIMUN. Collectively, the delegation will do its endeavour best to reclaim its previous accolade of 'Best University in Latin America and the Caribbean'," he commented.
Dr Waller said that the activity will also complement the Department's International Relations programme which will, over time, go through changes that will further enhance its offerings.
"We have been systematically reviewing our programmes in the department as part of our modernisation process, and these initiatives are in line with the university's 2012 to 2017 strategic plan," he said.
UWIMUN hosted the inaugural Presentation of the Delegation ceremony on February 10, in the university's Council Room. Sponsors included the Vice Chancellor's Office, the Office of the Deputy Principal, the Office of the Campus Registrar and the Department of Government.