Nursing a global perspective

Dec 9 2016

MacEwan Model United Nations Club brings home its latest Outstanding Delegation award


The United Nations Club takes a well-deserved break after being recognized with an Outstanding Delegation award at the National Model United National Conference in Kobe, Japan.

Hearing a friend talking about going to New York for a conference with MacEwan University’s United Nations Club was all it took for Athiang Makuoi to want to join. Less than two years later, the Bachelor of Science in Nursing student returned from an international conference in Kobe, Japan celebrating the club’s back-to-back Outstanding Delegation awards.

“To receive Outstanding Delegation with only six people on our team speaks to how incredible our club is and just how hard we all work,” says Athiang.

Thirteen-hour days were the norm during the four-day conference in Japan, but that’s really only a fraction of the total time students dedicated to the conference. They spent the three months before crossing the Pacific researching their designated country (South Korea), writing and editing a two-page research paper and preparing for committee work with help from other club members.

“ We help each other so much, and because we’re student-taught, we have generations of student leaders that have shown us how to prepare and succeed” Athiang Mukuoi 

“That paper is only two pages long, but it needs to be the best one you’ve ever written,” says Athiang. “We help each other so much, and because we’re student-taught, we have generations of student leaders that have shown us how to prepare and succeed.”

The university has been sending delegations to the Model UN in New York each March and to international versions of Model UN in places like Korea, China, Ecuador and Italy, for the past 23 years. The unique international learning experience is funded through the club’s fundraising efforts and the university’s student-led initiative grants.

“We have an impressive history of international recognition at these conferences,” says Chaldeans Mensah, associate professor of political science and faculty advisor for the Model UN Club. “MacEwan has built a collection of awards over the years, and have been recognized at every international conference we have attended.”

Accolades aren’t the only thing students take away from these experiences, says Athiang.

“Model UN forces you to look at things from someone else’s perspective, and when you do that, you begin to understand how other people live—their values and beliefs, their backgrounds, and their viewpoints.”

That, along with the opportunity to meet and get to know people from around the world, is something she says will serve her well in her future career as a nurse. “It has taught me how to work with other people, how to communicate effectively, how to do research and how important it is to appreciate diversity,” she says. “I have friendships, bonds and memories with people from here at MacEwan and around the world that I never would have made if I hadn’t joined the Model UN Club.”

Athiang may be the only Bachelor of Science in Nursing student in the club right now, but she hopes that isn’t the case for long.

“People often think that Model UN is strictly for political science students, but that's completely false,” she say. “Politics are obviously one part, but we also look at health care, economics, arts and culture, and we’re seeing more and more students from different programs joining us. I would love to have the students in this club reflect the diversity of people and programs at our university.

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