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Date: March 21, 2000

Major Grant Assures UVic Students 'Super Power' Status

A group of UVic students is headed to the Big Apple next month to experience life as the world's remaining super power in the grueling National Model U. N. competition. The members of the university's UN Club won the right to represent the United States because of the calibre of their performances in past competitions, the size of their group, and their top-notch organizational skills.

The club recently received a $10,000 award from the department of foreign affairs and international trade to assist with the expense of travelling to the competition. The two-day event replicates the 24-hour activities of the United Nations. As the United States delegation, the UVic students will have members on every UN committee. Like the real delegates, the students will engage in backroom negotiating and round the clock meetings to reach agreement with other nations on a variety of issues ranging from international security to disaster relief.

"They've been preparing for this since September and have shown a tremendous amount of initiative. They've been great," says Dr. Michael Webb, (political science) the club's faculty advisor. "Just like at the real UN, the United States will be the centre of attention. The students are very busy conducting research to learn the American positions on a wide range of policies."

The UVic student club has won acclaim in the past for their performances at model UN competitions. In 1998, they won the best delegation award and several individual awards at the North American model UN competition in Toronto. Some members of that delegation are among those preparing to go to the New York competition, which is the largest model UN competition in the United States.

UVic's dean of social sciences and the President's office have also contributed towards the trip. To raise further funds, the club is hosting its own version of "Reach For The Top," on April 1 pitting community members against the "UVic Academics" in a battle of wits. Members of the visitors' team include Vancouver Sun columnist Vaughn Palmer and former Canadian ambassador to Israel Norman Spector. Members of the "Academics" team include Drs. Webb, Robert Bedeski and Oliver Schmidtke, all of the political science department. The competition begins at 7 p.m. in the Centre for Innovative Teaching, room 105. Tickets are $10 at the door or $5 in advance from the political science office, Cornett Building, room A323, during business hours.

Media contacts:
Patty Pitts (UVic Communications) at (250) 721-7656.

UVic media releases and other resources for journalists are available on the World Wide Web at http://communications.uvic.ca/media

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