The Russians at the U of C could put Lenin to shame.
Last week, the University of Calgary model UN team stormed off to Montréal to represent Russia at the eleventh annual McGill Model UN (McMUN) Assembly. The team stormed back Þve days later bearing the trademark blue helmet of victory, leaving decimated contingents from Harvard, Georgetown and Chicago in their wake.
"It was wonderful and fulÞlling to look at someone from Harvard University and say, 'I beat you'," boasted team member Oliver Bladek.
Model UN president Pierre Poilievre expressed his excitement somewhat more modestly.
"We're ecstatic with the result," he declared. "Winning the McGill conference was our primary goal from the beginning of the year."
The McGill conference is the largest of its kind in Canada, hosting roughly 1,200 delegates from 60 universities across the United States and Canada. Held over Þve days, the proceedings simulate various functions of the United Nations and other international bodies.
"McMUN is in the top two or three [conferences] in North America in terms of quality, reputation and size," stated Poilievre. "To be honest, I didn't think we had the experience to win this time, but a lot of people beat the expectations. It was sort of a surprise, but a very pleasant surprise."
The McGill crown has switched hands between U of C and Harvard three times in three years. U of C won the title in 1999, but lost last year to Harvard.
"We all came back as champions," Bladek mused. "You could
almost consider this a national championship, because this is the premier model UN in Canada and we won it. We brought the blue helmet back to where it properly deserves to be."
The U of C victory was based on the ability of the 12 delegates to advance national policy in such committees as disarmament, security and human rights. Consideration was also given to awards received per capita, school spirit and degree of "splash" made at the conference.
"One third of our delegates walked away with awards," stated Poilievre. "Other universities may have won slightly more awards in numbers, but they did it with more people. We did it with 12."
The U of C team plans to host conferences to recruit new members and generate interest among the university community.