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Benefit dinner to help Model UN team compete in China

New Mexico State University's Model United Nations team is preparing to compete in China on Nov. 19-30. NMSU's International Relations Institute, headed by former U.S. Ambassador Delano Lewis, and the NMSU Department of Government will be helping the team with expenses by holding a benefit dinner on Nov. 13 that will feature former U.S. Ambassador Joseph Wilson.


The dinner will begin at 6 p.m. on Thursday at the New Mexico Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum in Las Cruces. The night will also include a live auction featuring items such as dinner at the home of Lewis and his wife, a Francisco Romero painting, a hot air balloon ride, a night in the Queen's Suite at Josephina's Historical Inn on the Plaza at Mesilla and a three-crosses 14-karat gold pendant from Glenn Cutter Jewelers. International cuisine will be provided by Dickerson's Catering, and every table will be themed to represent a different member state of the United Nations.

Ambassador Wilson was a member of the U.S. Diplomatic Service from 1976-1998, serving under the Republican administration of George H.W. Bush and the Democratic administration of William J. Clinton. He has held diplomatic posts throughout Africa, including Ambassador to Gabon and to Sao Tome and Principe. From 1988-1991, he was the Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq. During the first Gulf War, he was the acting U.S. Ambassador to Iraq. He is the author of "The Politics of Truth: Inside the Lies That Put the White House on Trial and Betrayed My Wife's CIA Identity." Wilson and his wife, Valerie Plame, came into the media spotlight when Plame was exposed as a CIA operative in a 2003 column by syndicated columnist Robert Novak. Wilson and others claimed the disclosure was part of the George W. Bush administration's attempts to discredit his report on his trip to Africa. A New York Times op-ed piece written by Wilson described his findings, writing that those findings did not support the government's rationale for the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

NMSU's Model UN team was named "Outstanding Delegation" at the National Model United Nations 290-school competition held in New York City in spring of 2008. In addition to their first place award, the 12-student team was given the "Outstanding Position Paper" award, which recognizes excellence in preparatory research for the New York conference.

"I expect another great performance from the team. They've been doing really, really well as evidenced by their win in New York," said Jason Ackleson, associate professor of government at NMSU and an adviser for the Model UN Program. "If they win, it will be a great achievement, which will be recognized internationally. This is the first time we have competed internationally and further signals the success of the Model UN Program." The team is expected to compete for five days and will also visit Beijing.

Tickets for the benefit dinner are $75 per person, $700 for a corporate table that seats 10, or $50 to sponsor a student to attend the dinner. For more information contact Lauren at (505) 215-7490 or write to Fatah Hafassa, at fatah@nmsu.edu. Additional information is available online at http://www.nmsu.edu/~govdept/modelun/a-night-at-the-un.html.