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NPR reporter and NMSU alumna Teri Schultz set to headline Model U.N. fundraiser

New Mexico State University's award-winning Model United Nations team is preparing for a particularly exciting year, as it gets ready to hold its fourth annual fundraising banquet.



The 2011-2012 NMSU Model U.N. team will be representing Lebanon at the National Model United Nations Conference April 1-5 in New York City. (Submitted photo)

"Night at the U.N." takes place on Feb. 23 at 6 p.m. at the New Mexico Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum. The festivities will include a silent auction, dinner and welcoming remarks from NMSU President Barbara Couture. The featured guest speaker will be National Public Radio international reporter and NMSU alumna, Teri Schultz.

All proceeds from the fundraiser will be used to pay for the NMSU Model U.N. team's trip to New York City for the National Model United Nations conference April 1-5. More than 5,000 delegates from the United States and around the world attend the conference.

This year, the NMSU students will be representing Lebanon, marking the first time the Model U.N. team has received its top country of choice. The team also will sit on the Security Council at this year's conference, which Model U.N. President Erica Butts called "a rare opportunity."

"Representing the Republic of Lebanon will give our team the opportunity to research and better understand the profound historical transformation, known as the Arab Spring, that is occurring in the region today," said Butts, a Roswell native who will graduate with her Master of Public Administration this spring. "In addition, we will gain a better understanding of the history of U.N. involvement in Lebanon and the surrounding region."

This year's team adviser is Regents Professor Yosef Lapid, who lived in the Middle East for 20 years, including five years as a lecturer at Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

"This is a very challenging assignment for our students since Lebanon is a very complex country that also serves as a temporary member of the U.N. Security Council," Lapid said. "As faculty adviser, I'm delighted to say that once again we have an exceptional group of students who work very hard to successfully meet this difficult assignment.

"Few things can compare to the feeling one gets simulating the United Nations General Assembly and witnessing so many students from around the world working together to solve international issues," Lapid added.

The NMSU Model U.N. team already has proven its mettle in past competitions. In 2010, the team, representing Switzerland, won an outstanding delegation award and an award for outstanding position papers. Last year, the team took home awards for distinguished delegation and outstanding position papers for representing Lithuania.

NPR's Schultz will be joining the Model U.N. team the week of the banquet, arriving in Las Cruces straight from Afghanistan, Butts said. Schultz, who received her bachelor's degree in journalism from NMSU, currently is on a NATO tour of the areas in Afghanistan that are transitioning to Afghan leadership. She is the only American journalist in the group.

Schultz's presentation at the banquet will feature her experiences working as a reporter and the role of the U.N. in Afghanistan.

Tickets are $50 for individuals, $35 for students and $500 for a corporate table, which includes nine seats, plus a student from the team. Tickets can be purchased online at http://www.nmsu.edu/~govdept/modelun/.