A group of Fresno Pacific University students represented a nation with a special place in the heart of many in the Valley during the 69th Annual Harvard National Model United Nations, February 16-19, 2023, in Boston—Armenia.

The experience was meaningful. “As the great-grandson of Armenian immigrants who fled genocide, being able to learn more about Armenia and share this knowledge with both fellow FPU students as well as delegates from around the world was incredibly special,” said Luke Colvard, a senior pre-law major from Clovis, who was one of 10 FPU students to participate, led by Ken Friesen, Ph.D., professor of history and international studies and coordinator of global education.

Cailey Lessel surprised delegates from other schools with the depth of support the FPU group received from home, particularly through the success of an Armenian food fundraiser. “My fellow delegates were touched, and shocked, by the degree of personal connection I had to represent Armenia,” said the sophomore international economics major from Crows Landing, CA. “Knowing I had the support of such a strong community behind me meant everything, and representing the character of a nation and a people I've come to love has been one of the greatest opportunities during my time with MUN.”

Model United Nations, also known as model UN or MUN, are educational simulations where students learn about diplomacy, international relations and the United Nations. As delegates, students represent a country, organization or person, and must work together to solve an international problem, sharpening their skills in research, public speaking, debating, writing, critical thinking, teamwork and leadership.

MUNs are designed to develop deeper understanding of world issues. Participants serve on committees ranging from disarmament and international security to press relations.

Begun in 1955, the Harvard National Model United Nations is the world’s longest running college-level Model United Nations and among the largest in the United States. About 3,000 students, half being international students, represent more than 185 countries.

Other FPU delegates were Laiba Faheem, senior pre-law major from Dubai and Pakistan; Safaa Umar, freshman pre-health sciences major from Sacramento; Brooke Barham, sophomore business administration major with an emphasis in marketing from Reno, NV; Juan Manuel Molinero Cortés, sophomore international studies major from Fresno; Alexa Queenan, junior international environmental studies major from Springville, CA; Magdalena Wenger, senior biology and intercultural studies major from Hutchinson, KS; Katherine Warkentin, sophomore environmental science major from Clovis; and Maddy Ward, junior pre-law major from Orosi.

PHOTO (from left): Luke Colvard, Juan Manuel Molinero, Laiba Faheem, Safaa Umar, Cailey Lessel, Maddy Ward, Magdalena Wenger, Brooke Barham, Ken Friesen, Alexa Queenan and Katherine Warkentin.




Wayne Steffen
Associate Director of Publications and Media Relations