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Bentley Hosts 16th Annual Model United Nations High School Conference

June 1, 2004

WALTHAM, Mass. - It may have been a holiday weekend, but on this Memorial Day the Bentley campus was abuzz as 130 high school students from 12 schools in three countries took over the LaCava Campus Center for three days during the 16th Annual Bentley Model United Nations High School Conference. The students represented nations in the UN models Security Council, General Assembly and Economic and Social Council.

Schools participating this year came from as close as Burlington and Saugus, MA to as far as the Dominican Republic and Canada. The conference enables students to learn about the United Nations and to develop skills in public speaking, negotiation and resolution writing. They also learn how to research current international issues and to further their cultural understanding as they represent specific countries in the conference.

Mr. Jose M. da Silva Campino, a political affairs officer in the African Division of the UN's Department of Political Affairs, gave the keynote address, advising students on international relations and the UN role in the contemporary world. Mr. Campino, a veteran of the Bentley conference, stayed for the weekend and participated in the meetings.

"The students really appreciated the opportunity to talk to him, and their experience was remarkable," said Don McNemar, lecturer in International Studies and one of two faculty advisors to the program, along with Assistant Professor of Government Joao Resende-Santos. "They not only learned about international issues and playing the part of diplomat; they came to understand the frustration of solving Iraq in a weekend. It gave them a real sense of how the international scene operates. In different bodies, the students realized how tough it is to bring together developed and developing countries, yet how important it is that the UN is making those connections."

A highlight of the conference was the emergency meeting of the Security Council- planned and called by the Bentley student leaders, but a surprise to the high school participants. On Saturday night, after a trip to Faneuil Hall and a dance at the Westin Waltham (the host hotel), the students were awakened at 1:00 a.m. to deal with a crisis surrounding a nuclear 'event' in North Korea. The North Korean delegate accused "the imperialist United States of sabotaging their nuclear facility" and the U.S. responded with a denunciation of North Korea for proliferating nuclear weapons.

After intense negotiation, including meetings with and instructions from Mr. Campino, the Security Council passed a resolution calling for humanitarian aid to the affected people and the visit of an impartial team to North Korea to investigate the incident.

"Some very tired 'diplomats' went back to bed at 4:30 a.m.," said McNemar. "They'll long remember that part of the experience."

Approximately 20 Bentley students returned from their summer break to conduct the conference, handling everything from travel arrangements to presiding over all of the sessions. "They not only displayed the business skills needed in handling all the details, but were able to relate to the high school students both with empathy and encouragement," said McNemar of the Bentley students.

Lauren Case, a junior and Secretary-General of the conference, received the Jean Bernard Gazarian Prize Fund, awarded to the member of the Bentley Model UN Secretariat "who makes the most significant behind the scenes contribution to the success of the conference."

Two alumni and former Bentley UN participants, PJ Neal and Shawn Grosser, also returned for the weekend to lend a hand.

"The conference here follows the same strategy of the college itself," said Neal, class of 2002 and currently working at Harvard Business School. "We don't want to be the biggest one around, or the longest, or the most expensive. We want to figure out what we're good at and what we can do better than anyone else, work within those parameters, and execute the conference better than anyone else could. We consistently do that, and we get the feedback from participants and advisors year after year that it's working perfectly."

"I continue to be involved with Bentley Model UN because I feel a debt to the organization," added Grosser, also class of 2002 and currently a law student at George Washington University. "It provided my happiest times and best friendships at Bentley. The camaraderie built in preparation for and during the conferences is unlike any organization I have ever participated in. There is no better way to prepare for an actual business career then to help run a Model UN conference."

The schools participating this year included Appleby College, Oakville, Ontario, Canada; Al-Ghazaly High School, an Islamic school in Teaneck, NJ; American School of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic; Boston Latin School, Boston, MA; Burlington High School, Burlington, MA; Carol Morgan School, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic; Duxbury High School, Duxbury, MA; Home Schoolers UN Club of Massachusetts; Missisquoi Valley Union High School, Swanton, VT; Quabbin Regional High School, Barre, VT; Saugus High School, Saugus, MA; and Snowden International High School, Boston, MA.

For more information, visit the Bentley Model UN site.

BENTLEY UNIVERSITY is one of the nation’s leading business schools, dedicated to preparing a new kind of business leader – one with the deep technical skills, broad global perspective, and high ethical standards required to make a difference in an ever-changing world. Our rich, diverse arts and sciences program, combined with an advanced business curriculum, prepares informed professionals who make an impact in their chosen fields. Located on a classic New England campus minutes from Boston, Bentley is a dynamic community of leaders, scholars and creative thinkers. The Graduate School emphasizes the impact of technology on business practice, in offerings that include MBA and Master of Science programs, PhD programs in accountancy and in business, and customized executive education programs. The university enrolls approximately 4,100 full-time undergraduate, 140 adult part-time undergraduate, 1,430 graduate, and 43 doctoral students. Bentley is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges; AACSB International – The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business; and the European Quality Improvement System, which benchmarks quality in management and business education. For more information, please visit www.bentley.edu

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