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NMSU students place first in Model U.N. competition

New Mexico State University's Model United Nations team was named "Outstanding Delegation" at the National Model United Nations 290-school competition held in New York City recently.

The NMSU Model United Nations team was named "Outstanding Delegation" in a competition in New York City recently. (NMSU photo by Jason Ackleson)

This is the first time NMSU has received this award, which is the first place category that only about 5 percent to 10 percent of schools worldwide fall into.

"We have been on a roll, having won an award at the conference for four consecutive years," said adviser Jason Ackleson, assistant professor of government and associate dean of the Honors College. "In athletic terms, it is like reaching the Final Four in college basketball."

In addition to their first place award, the 12-student team was recognized with the "Outstanding Position Paper" award which recognizes excellence in preparatory research for the conference.

Also, team member Fatah Hafassa, a senior government major, was voted "best delegate" by his peers in his committee.

Each student on the NMSU team was assigned to represent the Republic of Egypt in various U.N. committees. Ackleson said their job was to accurately represent Egypt's real national position at the U.N. and engage in multilateral diplomacy with other countries.

Through this process, the team cooperatively drafted resolutions with solutions to key international issues.

"This particular award is terrific as it signals we are now among the world's best Model U.N. programs," Ackleson said.

Scott Darling, president of the NMSU Model U.N. team, said the support from the Las Cruces community, NMSU and ASNMSU allowed them to compete on such a high level.

"Our team is highly dedicated to improving students' academic careers and general outlook on the world," Darling said. "Only through such activities can we hope for a better world."

A new Model U.N. team will be selected in August. Students from all majors, undergraduate and graduate, are welcome to try out. For more information, e-mail Ackleson at jackleso@nmsu.edu.