Friday, April 09, 2010

UIS students win award at National Model U.N. Conference in New York



Members of the University of Illinois Springfield Model United Nations Club were honored with one of the group’s highest global awards during a week-long conference in New York City.

Model United Nations is a conference that simulates an actual United Nations meeting. The UIS delegation consisted of 14 students and one faculty member. UIS was one of 17 institutions to win the Outstanding Delegation Award at this year's conference. Over 400 other international colleges and universities competed during the event, held March 29 through April 3.

“We’ve been participating for over 25 years in the National Model U.N. Conference and this is the top award we’ve got so far,” said Driss Elakrich, UIS head Model U.N. delegate and graduate student.

Students worked for close to two semesters learning about their assigned country, drafting resolutions, working on diplomacy and consensus building, and writing position papers on specific issues (climate change, arms control, poverty alleviation, global disease, the empowerment of women, etc.). This year UIS represented the country of Azerbaijan, which is situated south of Russia and north of Iran in the Caucasus.

“I learned that diplomacy is very, very hard. Building consensus with people, it can be impossible at times. It was also very interesting trying to work out differences with people where English was their second language,” said John Tienken, a freshman political science and global studies major.

Kelsey Quinn, a senior political science major and Priyanka Deo, a senior political science and sociology/anthropology major have both been to the conference before, but say they learn something new on every journey.

“It was amazing to get to see students I know from China, from Mexico coming together at these conferences,” said Quinn.

Deo plans to return to India to pursue her law degree after graduating from UIS in May, but hopes her experience with Model U.N. will help her in the future.

“I’d like to be a lawyer within the U.N., a tribunal lawyer, so I think this experience definitely makes me more comfortable about how the U.N. works and the politics behind it,” said Deo.

Deo has been invited to attend a Global Model U.N. Conference in Kuala Lampur, Malaysia later this year. Quinn attended a similar event in Switzerland this past summer based on her excellent performance.

Members of the UIS Model U.N. group include Caitlyn Barnes, Nicole Calcagno, Priyanka Deo, Justin Doup, Driss Elakrich, Alfred Komolafe, Margaret Martinotti, Gina Massie, Nana Mkheidze, James Schweke, Robyn Stolze, John Tienken, Kelsey Quinn, and Matthew K. Wright.

For more information contact Ali Nizamuddin, assistant professor of political science at 217/206-8424 or email aniza2@uis.edu.

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Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Chinese professors visit Springfield elementary school



Two professors from the Harbin University of Science and Technology in China, who are visiting the University of Illinois Springfield, in an educational partnership met with students at a Springfield elementary school on Tuesday, March 9.

Yufeng Jiang, Dean of the College of Foreign Languages at Harbin University and Fuming Chen, a faculty member in the College of Foreign Languages are spending time at UIS visiting classes and doing research. They’re also making an effort to learn more about the community.

“I’m very impressed by the way people think about education,” said Jiang.

Iles Elementary School, part of District 186, started teaching students introductory Chinese this year in an effort to become part of the International Baccalaureate Primary Years program.

“They have a global idea of what the future will be like and what potential students already have,” said Jaing, following a visit to the school.

The UIS Office of International Programs is working to strengthen its relationship with Harbin University. A visiting faculty member took part in an exchange program last year, which could open the door for much more.

“We’re looking at faculty exchange, student exchange and variety of programs with them,” said Jonathan GoldbergBelle, UIS Director of International Programs.

The Harbin faculty looks forward to strengthening their bond with UIS and learning new ways to share knowledge.

“It should be a two-way street, for example we have some support from the United States for education to teach English,” said Jaing.

UIS has been working with other universities in China for close to 20 years.

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Monday, November 02, 2009

UIS hosts International Advisers



The University of Illinois Springfield hosted five EducationUSA advisers from Azerbaijan, Peru, Philippines, Oman, and Russia as part of a U.S.-based training program on Monday, November 2, 2009.

EducationUSA advisers are posted at centers around the world to help foreign students learn about higher education in the United States. The group also shared information about admissions processes for students in their home countries.

"We get an inside perspective from the advisers face to face as to what's going on in their countries, what challenges their students face and what their academic interests are," said Dana Atwell, ESL Coordinator in the Office of International Programs.

The advisers spent time in Springfield participating in cultural events as well as informative meetings and workshops. They will visit college campuses around the country and also travel to Washington, D.C.

UIS worked with Study Illinois, a consortium of over fifty accredited institutions of higher learning to bring the group to Springfield. UIS also hosted the annual meeting for the organization during the visit by the international advisers.

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