International Studies Alumna invites UST Profs to Model UN Summit at Village School
A Model UN Summit provides a structured forum for high school students to simulate being United Nations delegates. It’s a place where they can “sharpen negotiation and communication skills by creating coalitions, debating solutions, negotiating terms, and drafting resolutions to tackle worldwide issues and conflicts.” UST-Houston Political Science and International Studies alumna Mina Petrolito ’17 is the Village High School’s Model UN Summit coordinator, and when she needed subject matter experts for the recent MUN Summit held at her campus, she tapped Prof. Eric Botts and Prof. Tuba Bilgic from her alma mater.
Prof. Botts is the director of UST’s Center for International Studies and the University’s Global Cybersecurity Program. Dr. Bilgic, as a former member of the Turkish Foreign Service, provided important contributions in attesting that the business of diplomacy is universal. It is all about building relationships. Dr. Bilgic has stepped forward to serve as the Model UN faculty advisor at UST.
Petrolito voiced immense appreciation for Botts’ and Bilgic’s generous insights.
“They were extremely inspirational to our students,” Petrolito said. “Prof. Botts’ ability to condense high-context historical events for a high school audience is genius, and their care for students comes through clearly.”
An estimated 65 students participated in the Jan. 20 workshop and conference, co-hosted by the Village High School, The Awty International School, and the British International School of Houston.
Dr. Botts encouraged students of all career aspirations to look to how diplomacy can enhance an approach to entrepreneurship and many other professions,” Petrolito continues. “He also shared insights of the life of a diplomat in the Foreign Service, a career that many model UN students are fascinated by.”
Botts and Bilgic made for an excellent start to the students’ morning before the attendees departed into both historical and crisis committees for the day.
The UST alumna recalled that the students most enjoyed the subsequent crisis committee instruction and games created to enhance their further understanding. In the crisis committee simulations, they gained an understanding of how to address real-time problems pragmatically. They also learn how to align with likely allies in particular crises and how to know what they can and cannot address with certain governments.
Petrolito said, “It’s an important awareness that can be tricky. Here, students begin to understand how issues today might come to a standstill. But the beauty is that younger generations have more stamina and optimism to push through dilemmas with an innovative approach.”
Before Prof. Botts departed, he invited students to continue expanding their knowledge by participating in UST’s upcoming Young Diplomats Summer Camp.