Tuesday, June 11, 2019

By News and Internal Communications

By Cinthia Monsivais

RIO GRANDE VALLEY, TEXAS – Eight UTRGV students took part in the 2019 National Model United Nations (NMUN) Conference in New York City in April, participating as delegates in committees and discussing international issues of far-reaching impact.

The conference, a five-day event, is part of the world’s largest university model simulating United Nations (UN) committees in a real-world context.


  • Alma Robledo, B.A., Political Science, of Brownsville.
  • Carlo Flores, B.B.A., International Business, of McAllen.
  • Jacqueline Giacoman, B.A., Political Science, Coahuila, Mexico.
  • Julian Contreras, M.P.A. in Global Security Studies and Leadership, of Donna.
  • Julieta Hernandez, B.A. in Political Science, of Brownsville.
  • Monika Garza, B.A. in Political Science, of Brownsville.
  • Over Garcia, B.A. Political Science, of Houston.
  • Yamileth Uribe, B.A. in Political Science, of Brownsville.

The UTRGV group represented the country of Brunei Darussalam, and were part of the largest committees at the conference – including the General Assembly 1st, 2nd and 3rd committees, and the Conference of the Parties to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change committee – with more than 100 delegates on each committee.

The students’ activities included drafting resolutions, negotiating with supporters or adversaries, and navigating the UN’s rules of procedure. Many of the conference speakers work for the UN, with some serving as advisory group members to offer student delegates a real-life perspective.

“It is an amazing opportunity for our students to travel to New York City to meet with real foreign diplomats, and to visit the United Nations Headquarters,” said Dr. Michelle Keck, UTRGV associate professor and associate chair of Political Science. “It is also a unique learning opportunity that helps students foster skills related to research, writing, public speaking, problem solving, consensus building and conflict resolution.”

As committee delegates, students discussed global issues and topics such as capacity-building for combating climate change in developing countries; nuclear disarmament; ensuring access to affordable and sustainable modern energy; and inclusive development for persons with disabilities.

During the hands-on discussions, students confronted those issues from the perspective of their assigned country – in UTRGV’s case, Brunei Darussalam – allowing them to develop an appreciation of differing viewpoints and broaden their world view.

In 2018-2019 academic year, the NMUN held three conferences, in New York City, Washington, D.C., and Xi’an, China. Some 400 colleges and universities participated throughout the year, engaging about 7,126 citizens around the world.

The NMUN will begin having conferences for the 2019-2020 academic year in November.


The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) was created by the Texas Legislature in 2013 as the first major public university of the 21st century in Texas. This transformative initiative provided the opportunity to expand educational opportunities in the Rio Grande Valley, including a new School of Medicine, and made it possible for residents of the region to benefit from the Permanent University Fund – a public endowment contributing support to the University of Texas System and other institutions.

UTRGV has campuses and off-campus research and teaching sites throughout the Rio Grande Valley including in Boca Chica Beach, Brownsville (formerly The University of Texas at Brownsville campus), Edinburg (formerly The University of Texas-Pan American campus), Harlingen, McAllen, Port Isabel, Rio Grande City, and South Padre Island. UTRGV, a comprehensive academic institution, enrolled its first class in the fall of 2015, and the School of Medicine welcomed its first class in the summer of 2016.