University at Albany
 
UAlbany students took part in Model EU 2015 at City College-CUNY in NYC.

Rockefeller College Delegation Attends Model European Union Summit in New York City

On March 26-28, a delegation of 16 students from Rockefeller College attended the SUNY Model European Union Summit in New York City. This event simulates a meeting of the European Council, a regular gathering of heads of states and ministers from all EU member states.

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The UAlbany delegation to the SUNY Model EU
in the Great Hall of the City College, CUNY

These meetings typically produce decisions about key policy issues that are pertinent to the European Union. At the simulation, students experience how representatives from EU member states negotiate over critical challenges to the EU and its members, how the varying interests of different members shape negotiations and outcomes, and how compromises can be made to produce resolutions that are acceptable to all member states. Participants came from other SUNY institutions, other universities in the United States, and from overseas, including delegations from universities in Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, and Malta. During the summit, students had the opportunity to hear from European diplomats who visited the event. These speakers included Janis Mazeiks, the UN Ambassador of Latvia, who holds the current EU Council Presidency, and Roberto Pena, Senior Advisor to the Delegation of the EU in the United States.

The UAlbany delegates are members of the Model European Union club at UAlbany. Participating at the summit followed six months of preparation in weekly club meetings where students learned about EU institutions, member countries, procedural rules at diplomatic negotiations, and current policy issues in the EU, ranging from the Eurocrisis to EU-Russia relations and the increase in refugees from civil wars and fragile regions.

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Rockefeller students played the part of delegates
from the U.K., Luxembourg and Hungary

UAlbany students formed the delegations of three countries (the United Kingdom, Hungary, and Luxembourg) and contributed three reporters to the Press Corps. The delegations contributed several agenda items that were discussed during the summit. Over the two days, UAlbany delegates played crucial roles in advancing agenda items and proposals. At the conclusion of the summit, UAlbany students had successfully co-sponsored two resolutions, one on EU-Russia relations and one on the European Energy Union. The three students on the press corps authored a number of articles on the background of European leaders and the progress of the negotiations. The organizers of the summit recognized the contributions of the UAlbany delegations with several awards, including awards for "most eloquent speaker" to Rey Muniz (acted as Prime Minister of Luxembourg) and "most likely to ask tough questions" to Nicholas Marricco (member of the Press Corps). For the students, the two-and-a half days of negotiations at the summit provided hands-on experience in policymaking, diplomacy, and finding compromise. Students' feedback highlights the special value of this event for their education and postgraduate career.

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UAlbany students Jona Hoxha (representing the
Deputy Prime Minister of the U.K.) and Daniel P.
Mallon (representing the Prime Minister of the U.K.)
at the opening ceremony of the SUNY Model EU..

"Participating in this conference was extremely beneficial to learn how to operate in a diplomatic environment and how to come to compromises on disagreements. I also learned how important it is to communicate with those who you are working with so that all can come to agreements without lingering concerns," said Kady Arthur, participating in the EU as part of the Luxembourg delegation.  Kady's fellow UAlbany student Liara  Hill, representing the U.K. noted, "Model EU was a great opportunity to learn with and from people of different walks of life. It also gave me an appreciation for real life negotiations within entities such as the European Union and the UN. The conference gives perspective and understanding on the challenges delegates and officials face in real life. I think it's important to consider this when considering the efficiency of these institutions."  Undergrad Christian Johnson, an aspiring politician who participated as a member of delegation from Hungary, was grateful for the insights the Model EU experience gave him into his desired future career as a politician.   " The opportunity to apply what I've learned in my courses, expand on my knowledge of world politics, and forge lifelong friendships with students from around the world makes Model EU an experience I will appreciate throughout my life, especially as it applies to my expected career in politics," said Chris.

Support from Rockefeller College alumni and donors made it possible for students to attend the summit. Thanks to contributions to Rockefeller College, the College was able to subsidize students' registration fees. The SUNY Model European Union is organized by Professor Kathleen Dowley at SUNY-New Paltz and this year's conference was hosted by City College of New York.

The Model EU club is inviting students interested in international affairs, diplomacy, and Europe to attend future club meetings and consider joining the club. Interested students should email the club's faculty advisor, Professor Johannes Karreth, at mailto:jkarreth@albany.edu, or Rockefeller College's Director of Undergraduate Student Services, Zakhar Berkovich, atmailto:zberkovich@albany.edu.