The student-run SFU Model NATO Club won the 32nd annual international model NATO competition held at Howard University in Washington, D.C.


Award-winning SFU NATO Club shares five reasons to join the club

March 23, 2017

By Justin Wong

In February, the student-run SFU Model NATO Club won the 32nd annual international model NATO competition held at Howard University in Washington, D.C. The club took home multiple accolades, including the overall award for Superior Delegation.

NATO is an acronym representing North Atlantic Treaty Organization. At the competition, 28 university clubs from around the world, each representing a country belonging to NATO, gathered to simulate realistic negotiations. To score points, teams pushed their nation’s agenda forward while working with other nations to come to consensus on various real world issues relating to global security.

SFU’s victory was hard-won. Team member Peter Rautenbach recalls the challenges the club faced as a new comer to the competition. SFU represented Latvia and competed against veteran juggernauts from the Royal Canadian Military College and the United States Air Force Academy.

“Due to the nature of NATO, all states have equal power when it comes to voting or decision-making,” says Rautenbach. “While Latvia and the U.S technically have similar levels of influence as far as votes go, the fact remains that the U.S. has much more influence due to its economic capability, military budget, and overall soft power. Teams representing these larger countries are able to use this information as a resource to build a stronger argument in competition.”

At the competition, Cornel Turdeanu and Jazlyn Melnychuk won the Distinguished Delegation Award in the North Atlantic Council category. Mack McCorkindale and Darcy Taylor won the Outstanding Delegation Award in the Political Affairs Committee category. Peter Rautenbach and Madison De Zara won the Outstanding Delegation Award in the Nuclear Planning Group category.

Some of the award winners from the SFU NATO Club recently sat down with SFU News to share why you should join their club:

1.     Experiential learning

Rautenbach: Students in The Model NATO Club get to practically apply what they’ve been learning for years as an undergrad. There’s something fulfilling about leaving behind the theoretical and jumping into the practical aspects of international relations and political science as a whole.

2.    Building your professional network

McCorkindale: I've made personal and professional connections with incredible people at all of the simulations and conferences I've been lucky enough to participate in. These experiences have been incredibly enriching, both personally and intellectually.

3.    Learn how to keep Canada safe

Turdeanu: NATO is an incredibly important organization for Canada, one of its founding members. NATO is crucial for our security. Historically it helped keep the peace during the Cold War, and today it continues to do the same.

4.    Working in teams and relationship building

De Zara: I’ve made a lot of friends since joining this club and they have taught me a lot about teamwork and believing in one another. My relationships with fellow SFU delegates grew stronger throughout the week in competition and in our adventures around the city.

5.     Taking your first step in building a future career in national defense

Melnychuk: NATO as an organization plays a vital role in not only the security of member nations, but also in stabilizing the global security landscape. Having the chance to practice NATO simulations is the first step towards developing the skills to help resolve conflicts around the world—skills such as critical thinking, creativity, negotiation, compromise and highly professional composure.

The club will hold a Model NATO simulation at SFU’s Burnaby campus on March 28th at 5:30p.m. If you are interested in attending or learning more, you can find them on Facebook.

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