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Students shine at International Model NATO conference

The Northeastern University student delegations at the annual International Model NATO conference.

Twenty-seven Northeastern undergraduates participated at the recent International Model NATO conference in Washington, D.C. The Northeastern University delegations won first- and third-place prizes, while several students took home individual awards.

The North­eastern del­e­ga­tions for Ger­many and Croatia took first and third place, respec­tively, and stu­dents won sev­eral indi­vidual awards at the 30th annual Inter­na­tional Model NATO con­fer­ence ear­lier this month in Wash­ington, D.C.

The con­fer­ence, which took place Feb. 12–15, included stu­dents from uni­ver­si­ties throughout the United States as well as Canada, the United Kingdom, and Bel­gium. At the con­fer­ence, each stu­dent team rep­re­sented a pre-​​assigned member state of NATO or the Euro-​​Atlantic Part­ner­ship Council. The pro­ceed­ings mir­rored those of the 65-​​year-​​old inter­gov­ern­mental mil­i­tary alliance, with stu­dents sit­ting on com­mit­tees and dis­cussing, debating, and writing res­o­lu­tions on today’s most pressing global issues.

Twenty-​​seven North­eastern under­grad­u­ates par­tic­i­pated, including polit­ical sci­ence major Stephanie Leahy, SSH’16. She chaired the Com­mittee on Emerging Securities—one of six com­mit­tees on which each country del­e­ga­tion is represented—and her strong lead­er­ship in guiding debate and ensuring proper pro­ce­dure was fol­lowed earned her the Out­standing Chair Award at the conference.

Coming away from the con­fer­ence, it was really inter­esting to see how each del­e­ga­tion rep­re­sents its country on cer­tain issues,” Leahy said. “You learn a lot about how coun­tries view these issues and might interact with each other in real NATO debates.”

Indeed, these con­fer­ences pro­vide stu­dents with a robust expe­ri­en­tial learning oppor­tu­nity, noted Philip D’Agati, the Model NATO team’s adviser and an assis­tant aca­d­emic spe­cialist in the Depart­ment of Polit­ical Sci­ence. Not only do stu­dents dive deep into mat­ters of inter­na­tional policy and diplo­macy, but they also gain impor­tant lead­er­ship expe­ri­ence and public-​​speaking skills, he said.

I’m really proud of our stu­dents,” D’Agati said. “The best part about the weekend is that every stu­dent con­tributed to the overall success.”

Stu­dents on Northeastern’s Inter­na­tional Model NATO team are mem­bers of the Inter­na­tional Rela­tions Council, a stu­dent orga­ni­za­tion that is inter­ested in for­eign policy, inter­na­tional affairs, and learning the skills of effec­tive diplo­macy and debate. The North­eastern IRC also fields del­e­ga­tions that par­tic­i­pate in Model Arab League and Model United Nations.

This marks the fourth con­sec­u­tive year in which a del­e­ga­tion led by North­eastern stu­dents placed first at the Inter­na­tional Model NATO con­fer­ence. Last year, the stu­dent del­e­ga­tion rep­re­senting Nether­lands took first place.

D’Agati and his stu­dents attribute their suc­cess to their enor­mous amount of prepa­ra­tion, boosting their knowl­edge of their country’s pol­i­tics and policy, prac­ticing debate, and studying NATO rules and pro­ce­dures for months in advance of the competition.

Having famil­iarity with the rules and pro­ce­dures makes you so much more con­fi­dent when you get to the con­fer­ence, so you can really focus on the policy,” Leahy said.

– By Greg St. Martin

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