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Model United Nations Competition Set for Sheen Campus on St. Croix


University of the Virgin Islands students will test their skills in debate, deliberation and problem-solving in the Fourth Annual UVI Model United Nations Competition. The competition simulates committees and programs of the United Nations, with two delegations each representing a different country. The public is invited to attend the competition from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Wednesday, March 21, on UVI's Albert A. Sheen Campus on St. Croix in the Great Hall.

Students from the Albert A. Sheen delegation will represent Cuba and students from the St. Thomas campus delegation will represent Haiti. Some of the topics to be discussed include the Cuban embargo, racism, corruption, interventionism, the cholera epidemic, deforestation, and many more stimulating areas of concern. Through this competition, UVI students gain a better sense of international concerns, policies and affairs. Students also improve their communication skills as they learn tactics of debate, deliberation and development of solutions to world problems.

In order to be considered for the competition, interested students submitted a preliminary position paper. The top four students from each campus were selected to compete. The students from the Albert A. Sheen Campus are Karisa Danielson, Dizhan Hicks, JoAnn Thomas-Lewis and Rishina Williams. The students from the St. Thomas campus are Conisha Gumbs, Maxence Jeanty, Lana Letang and Deleon Richardson.

UVI Professor Dr. Kula Francis said that the competition enhances the educational experience of the competing students. "As a result of the preparation completed by these students, they are ultimately 'experts' on their topics," said Dr. Francis, who also serves as faculty advisor to the competitors. She said the students have been preparing for the competition by conducting extensive research since January.

"In as much as these students are competing in a mock debate, they truly feel the urgency of many of the problems faced in these countries. These students become true ambassadors for Cuba and Haiti," Dr. Francis continued. "The process of participating in the Model UN is simply preparation to become future world leaders."

Even in the competition's short history, student participants have gone on to succeed. Magdalene Morancie, winner of the first competition in 2008, is presently in her third year of law school in Florida. Amaris Chew, the 2009 winner, is a graduate student in Public Administration at UVI.

In previous competitions students represented the countries of Cote d'Ivoire and Eritrea, Venezuela and Panama, and China and Russia. They explored topics including River Blindness, child labor laws, female genital mutilation, civil war, pollutions, human trafficking and poverty.

The UVI Model United Nations Competition is an initiative of the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences and is sponsored by St. Croix Rotary Clubs West and Harborside. For more information, contact Dr. Kula Francis at (340) 692-4065 or via email at kfranci@uvi.edu, or Sonia Boyce of Rotary Clubs of St. Croix at (340) 626-9207.