Khaled Hassen's daughters Susan
and Farrah credit the National
Model United Nations program
for broadening their world
No, it's not the resume for "The Most Interesting Man in the World." The eclectic list is but a sampling of what participants in the National Model United Nations program have done after graduating from Cal Poly Pomona. Former team members describe the program as a gateway to success that challenged them academically, intellectually and interpersonally.
"It is hard to exaggerate how great an opportunity this program is for those involved," says Daniel Lewis, associate dean for academic programs in the College of Letters, Arts & Social Sciences and team advisor. "It makes them realize that their future has no limit."
The program, like many aspects of student life, has been financially roiled in recent years, largely because of the state's ongoing budget crisis. The dean's office and student government continue to provide support, but Lewis says the team has had to scale back operations, both during training and its time in New York for the international competition at the United Nations General Assembly hall.
"Last year was especially difficult," Lewis says. "We organized a smaller team and had to complete our coaching here on campus. But it was not simply that the team lacked an advisor during the New York competition. The reduced funding meant that last year's team could not be as large as we would have liked, that team members had to cut back on important preparatory activities."
Help is on the way.
Last spring, a reunion brought past participants to campus for dinner at The Restaurant at Kellogg Ranch, where they honored former longtime team advisor, Professor Emeritus John Moore. Among the attendees was Jonathan Farrar, the ambassador to Panama, who credited the National Model U.N. program and Moore for nurturing his interest in international affairs. Lewis sees the reunion as the first of a series of annual events that will bring the program's alumni back to campus to help support future participants. The goal is to build an endowment that will fund the expenses of at least a dozen students and their faculty advisor to travel to New York for the annual competition.
Support has already come in a significant way from an alumnus with deep attachment to Cal Poly Pomona: Khaled Hassen, whose gift created the Hassen – National Model United Nations Endowment. He was initially intrigued by the program as a student in the mid-1960s when his roommate participated, but what inspired his involvement was the experiences of his daughters, Farrah and Susan.
Farrah, who graduated in 2004 with a bachelor's degree in political science, earned her master's in international affairs at American University and remained in Washington, D.C., to work at several think tanks. She recently served as an election observer in Egypt for the Carter Center. She credits the experience she gained on the National Model United Nations team for her career success and passion for international affairs.
"I felt the legacy of this program and Dr. Moore accompanying me as I worked with this organization that promotes human rights and was there to observe the first post-Mubarak parliamentary and presidential elections," she says. "With this program you come to realize that there actually is a world outside of Pomona, outside of L.A., outside of California, and that you have a place in it."
Farrah's sister Susan, who also attended Cal Poly Pomona and joined the National Model United Nations team, says the rigorous training she received positioned her well for law school. "I tell my Model U.N. friends that the paper for our 2008 delegation, when we represented Portugal, was the best I ever wrote — better than anything in law school.
The skills you learn at Model U.N. stay with you. ... This program singlehandedly broadens everyone's world view."
The College of Letters, Arts & Social Sciences
provides a diverse range of programs to encourage
students to become well-rounded and develop critical thinking and complex problem-solving skills, as well as the ability to write clearly and persuasively.
The campaign goals for the college will further undergraduate opportunities to engage in scholarship, research and creative activities.
Sharon Hilles, Interim Dean
Kristen Daley, Director of Major Gifts