University at Albany
Contact: Mary Hunt (518) 442-5264

Rockefeller Students Participate in SUNY Model EU
in New York City, April 12-14

A group of eleven Rockefeller College students participated in the 2013 SUNY Model European Union (SUNYMEU) at the SUNY Global Center in New York City from April 12-14. The exercise, the largest and oldest Model EU in the United States, drew over 150 students from universities in New York State, Iowa, France, Turkey, Belgium, Ireland, and the United Kingdom. Advising the Rockefeller contingent was Research Professor and former U.N. official Mark Baskin.

Justyn Turner, Luana Wang, and Mini Jang
pause for a photo at SUNYMEU.

SUNYMEU is an annual simulation of the European Union organized by the Institute for European Union Studies at SUNY (IEUSS), SUNY New Paltz, and the SUNY Office of Global Affairs. Its primary purpose is to provide a framework for a simulation of a European Council meeting to better educate American students about the European Union while giving them an opportunity to interact with students from EU member and candidate states.

Students are assigned a role as a representative of a delegation (an EU country or the Commission), head of government, foreign minister, European commissioner, or member of the press corps.  Students prepare for the simulation at their own universities with the help of faculty advisers like Professor Baskin.  Throughout the course of the exercise students discuss, debate, negotiate and try to reach compromise on a number of proposals at issue.  They do so by following the procedures the actual MEPs follow in the European Parliament.

The Rockefeller College students played the roles of prime minister, foreign minister, finance minister and ambassador to the EU from the governments of Austria and Slovenia.  One student also portrayed a member of the European press corps.  The students debated key issues currently on the agenda of the EU, including youth unemployment, terrorist threats in the EU, humanitarian intervention and support to refugees from Syria, and EU enlargement.  The Rockefeller students have been preparing for SUNYMEU during their spring semester service learning class.

Team Austria was composed of Mikayla Myers, Paige Donegan, Marc Sames, Luana Wang and Mini Jang.  Amaury Munoz, Allison Belanger, Justyn Turner, Justin Ochryn and Sabrina Olviri made up the Slovenian team.  Daniel Mallon represented the press corps that published daily broadsheets about the sessions, and recorded speeches and the concluding session.

Mark Baskin applauded the students' capacity to channel official views from Slovenia and Austria. "Our students learned a great deal about the countries they are representing and the EU, more generally," said Baskin.  "They wonderfully took on the nuances of the Austrian and Slovenian positions on key issues and negotiated effectively with their peers from other governments.  Throughout the weekend, I saw them 'working the corridors' as effectively as the actual members do at international meetings in Madrid, Vienna or Brussels." 

Deputy Head of the EU Delegation to the UN Ioannis Vrailas delivered the keynote speech at the opening dinner.  In addressing students, Vailas said the EU strives "to bring the human rights dimension in line with political effort and the rule of law" and "it has been amply proved that no matter how powerful a country may be it cannot tackle some issues fully on its own, so you need partnerships and to find compromises to difficult problems."

UAlbany junior Justyn Turner praised the experience.  "It was great working with students from universities all over the world," said Turner.  Senior Amaury Munoz concurred and added, "The Model EU gave us a taste of the type of international career we intend to pursue in the future."