Grad led Heidelberg to host Model UN

Since 2002, Heidelberg University students have participated in the annual Model United Nations of the Far West conference. This year marked the first time HU was the hosting school.

The conference takes place in San Francisco, Calif. Students in the Model United Nations course, taught by Marc O’Reilly, prepare for the conference the month before simulating the work by the committees.

This is the first time Heidelberg hosted the conference. Senior Ali Sayer, of Sylvania, was the lead in organizing the conference, serving as secretary-general. The Secretariat was staffed entirely by Heidelberg students, along with students from Whittier College, Humboldt State University, West Oregon State University and the College of St. Benilde, in the Philippines.

Sayer said this is the fourth conference she had participated in. Sayer will be graduating today, earning a degree in Political Science and Legal studies.

“The conference opens students to a world outside of campus and allows them the ability to travel and learn about world events,” she said.

Sayer came up with the theme for the conference, “The Struggle to Exist: Sustainability and Human Rights.”

Almost 500 students took part in the four-day conference. Heidelberg students represented Canada, Denmark and Maldives.

Sayer began preparing for the conference two-years ago after she approached O’Reilly.

“Ali did a very commendable job serving as the secretary-general,” O’Reilly said. “I particularly like the MUNFW conference because it offers first-time delegates smallish committees, therefore an opportunity to contribute meaningfully to committee conversation and other business.”

“A lot of it is being able to manage my time effectively,” Sayer said. “O’Reilly has really helped me prepare and my coaches have worked with my schedule. I have reached out when I needed help.”

Last year, Sayer spent a semester abroad, studying at Oxford and working in the Parliament. During the fall semester, she studied at American University in Washington, D.C., and completed an internship in the office of Sen. Tom Carper, D- Delaware.

“I’ve never been told I can’t do something,” Sayer said. “That’s something I’m really glad I found at Heidelberg.”