Posted by Dr. Chau T. Phan, Faculty Adviser Emeritus
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Rider Model United Nations
Alumni Association
"Together we aspire, together we achieve"

Yes, Virginia, there is tradition at Rider

Letter to the Editor, The Rider News, November 9,  2001

Dear Editor:


         The Nov. 2 issue of The Rider News made an astounding statement in its editorial: “. . . outside academia (which in itself is a questionable area of success), traditions of any form are lacking at Rider. . . . Although Rider was founded in 1865, no lasting traditions have survived since then.”

         Perhaps The Rider News editorial board should make an effort to pay a little more attention to what is going on at Rider and to be better informed before making such a generalization. There is indeed a very proud tradition here at Rider, and on Oct. 25, we marked its 35th year at Rider during the United Nations Day celebration. The Rider News editorial board should have been aware of it, as it did send a photographer and devoted a tiny piece about it in its Oct. 26 edition. The tradition is called the Rider Model United Nations program, which was started in the 1967-68 academic year. As Rider moved from downtown Trenton to the Lawrenceville campus to transform itself from a business school to a comprehensive liberal arts college, Rider’s Model UN program came into existence just two years after that.  Model UN has built a very strong, proud and unique tradition at Rider College/University.

         Unbeknownst to the Rider community in general, and to The Rider News in particular, is the fact that Rider has participated for the past 34 years in the National Model United Nations (NMUN), held in NYC every spring under the auspices of the National Collegiate Conference Association.  The NMUN is the largest and most prestigious intercollegiate academic competition in North America.  Within the NMUN, Rider is reckoned to be one of the heavyweight participating institutions.  In 2001, the NMUN attracts more than 2,000 delegates from over 200 colleges and universities throughout the United States and Canada, with increasing participation from Europe and Japan as well.

         The NMUN is not solely an academic program. It has been and continues to be the training ground of an ever-growing contingent of successful leaders in business and industry, the legal profession, government and in academia, as well as the most cohesive group of alumni supporting Rider University. We now count about 300 NMUN alumni, among them over 50 lawyers (including Mercer County Superior Court Appointments Judge Linda Feinberg, three members of the Burlington County Prosecutor’s office and two in the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s office), two Ph.D.s and a slew of master’s degree holders. Long before feminism and multiculturalism became fashionable on campus, we had women team leaders beginning in 1971. In 2001, both of our team co-leaders were minority women.

         From its first year in 1968 to its latest in 2001, Rider NMUN has been the most significant co-curricular activity many participants said they have done in their years at Rider. The appreciation shown to the Rider Model UN program and its ongoing tradition can also be seen in the fact that it can boast of three endowed funds, the proceeds of which pay for about half of its annual expenses.

         All traditions have to start some time. This year, on Dec. 6, Rider NMUN will sponsor the fourth Human Rights Day celebration on campus, with the reading of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in various languages in the lobby of the Moore Library. In the previous three years, there has been an increasing turnout for this event.  Perhaps, with the backing and recognition by a truly campus-conscious newspaper that publicizes all campus events ahead of time, we can draw even more participants this year.


Dr. Chau T. Phan, Model UN Program Director
Steve Sutow, ’00, 2000 Team Leader

Nargis Afzal, ’01, 2001 Team Co-Leader

Fatisha Hobbs, ’01,
2001 Team Co-Leader
Juan Nuñez,
2002 Team Leader

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