Budding Diplomat Or Not, This Club is For You

Alex Bulanov isn’t old enough to drive, but he has represented Sudan in high-level talks at the UN about state-sponsored terrorism and Internet recruitment.

The Model UN, that is.

Bulanov, a sophomore, was one of five Gann students who recently attended a Model UN conference organized by Yeshiva University — a three-day student-run simulation of the workings of the intergovernmental organization. The conferences are a heady experience and a lot of fun, according to Bulanov, who says that sometimes a contentious issue turns into an all-night affair. Case in point: his committee stayed up very late drafting a resolution on Internet recruitment of terrorists that ultimately went nowhere. “It’s one of the realities of life. It can be a long road to get to the end product, and sometimes you never get there,” sighs Bulanov.

Bulanov and four other students from Gann’s Model UN club spent several months preparing for the event. They researched Sudan— the country conference organizers assigned them, wrote position papers, and prepared their arguments for debates with hundreds of fellow student-diplomats — some from other countries, the real kind. Bulanov won an honorable mention for his performance at the gathering, one of several honors Gann students have collected in recent years.

While multi-lateral agreement may sometimes prove elusive at these gatherings, the benefits of participation are unbeatable, says Bulanov.“You become really good at public speaking, because every word you say at Model UN matters,” he says. “And it also hones your research and critical thinking skills. You have to know your country inside out and constantly think on your feet when challenged.”
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