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Interview With Dr. Maria Ortuoste, Model United Nations Advisor At California State University, East Bay.

Interview with Dr. Maria Ortuoste, Model United Nations Advisor at California State University, East Bay.

As I sat down with Maria Ortuoste, the advisor of the Model United Nations (MUN) program at Cal State East Bay, her enthusiasm for simulations and experiential learning was . Dr. Ortuoste’s journey into the realm of MUN began when the opportunity arose following the retirement of the previous advisor. Prior to receiving her Ph.D. Maria had experience working in the Philippine Foreign Ministry, she say the potential to blend her expertise with her passion for teaching. “I liked simulations and always made my classes have a simulation or game,” she remarked, emphasizing the importance of providing students with valuable experiences similar to those practitioners in the Philippine Foreign Ministry received through simulations. 

Dr. Ortuoste’s approach to MUN at Cal State East Bay is not just about academic rigor but also about creating an engaging and supportive environment. This year marked a significant milestone as one of her students chaired a committee for the first time. Dr. Ortuoste spoke with pride about the dedication and growth she witnessed in her students, highlighting their commitment to working on their issue books over the summer and the remarkable transformation they underwent since their first attendance last year. To enhance the learning experience further, she asked her students to collaborate on setting up the Cal State East Bay website for Model United Nations, allowing students to showcase their newfound knowledge and skills. 

When asked “what advice would you give to teachers who are new to incorporating Model UN into their classroom, Dr. Ortuoste emphasized the importance of understanding the issues intellectually while also fostering empathy for all stakeholder involved. She stressed the need to instill discipline and cultivate good research skills while maintaining an element of fun and providing students with a measure of independence. Dr. Ortuoste’s approach rejects micromanagement, allowing students the freedom to make their own decisions and take ownership of their roles. 

In essence, Dr. Ortuoste’s leadership in the MUN program embodies a commitment to experiential learning, empathy, and student empowerment. Through her guidance, students at Cal State East Bay are not only gaining a deeper understanding of global issues but also developing essential skills for success in academia and beyond. 

Sena Bryant
World Press Reporter
Metropolitan State University, Denver

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