By Maire Callanan '14
At the end of October Ritika Bhakhri ’14 (political science/legal studies) attended the 41st annual National Collegiate Security Conference (NCSC) with over 500 of the nation’s best collegiate Model United Nations delegates. This Model UN Conference was presented by the Georgetown International Relations Association, a non-profit in Washington, D.C., that educates global leaders in international affairs through interactive learning. Collegiate delegates at NCSC represent people, groups, political parties, countries and regions in simulations of international political forums.
After a competitive application process, Bhakhri was selected by the UMass International Relations Club to attend the weekend conference. “I saw this as a perfect opportunity to apply the knowledge and skills that I have acquired in the classroom to debate on real life issues that we face as an international society,” Bhakhri says.
In fact, the NCSC is designed to give students the opportunity to apply knowledge they have acquired in the classroom and through personal studies to realistic debates on key international issues. Delegates participate in Model UN Conferences, acting as their assigned personae and defending their positions against those of their peers from other educational institutions.
Bhakhri was assigned to be Bougerra Soltani from the Movement of Society for Peace Party in Algeria. With guidance from the International Relations Club advisor, Professor MJ Peterson, Bhakari combined material she learned in Peterson’s international law course and research she conducted on the topic to successfully represent Soltani.
Delegates also work together to draft policies relating to the economy, healthcare, minority relations, foreign policy and the judicial system. For Bhakhri, the most memorable part of the conference was collaborating with individuals from across the country in drafting a new constitution for Egypt after the revolution. “NCSC is an exciting opportunity to learn about international issues facing the world...in an intellectually stimulating environment,” Bhakhri says.
Maire Callanan '14, who is majoring in legal studies and Spanish, is a member of Commonwealth Honors College.