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Economou’s Model UN involvement provides new opportunities

Diligent   Delegate:   Examining the notes compiled by the GBS Model UN team, Alex Economou, Model UN publicity chair, tries to plan the day’s different crisis committees and simulations. Economou has been a part of the GBS Model UN team since he was a freshman, and his involvement and resulting enthusiasm have brought him unique opportunities including writing for a Model UN blog and a spot on the All American Model UN team. 
Photo by Sophie Mason

Diligent Delegate: Examining the notes compiled by the GBS Model UN team, Alex Economou, Model UN publicity chair, tries to plan the day’s different crisis committees and simulations. Economou has been a part of the GBS Model UN team since he was a freshman, and his involvement and resulting enthusiasm have brought him unique opportunities including writing for a Model UN blog and a spot on the All American Model UN team. Photo by Sophie Mason

Jack Davis and Ashley Desserich

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For most students at South, participation in clubs doesn’t include working for an online blog, attending interstate camps or traveling to Budapest, Hungary. However, junior Alex Economou’s passion for Model UN has brought him all of these experiences and more.

Beginning his Model UN career as a freshman, Economou did not expect to be very involved with the club. Now, according to club advisor Terrence Jozwik, Economou attends almost every conference and is determined to do well in each one. Jozwik explains that Economou continues to participate and work hard for his success, no matter the difficulties he faces.

“For a number of conferences he wasn’t getting much recognition,” Jozwik said. “But what I really admire about Alex is he just never gives up. He just keeps plugging away.”

Economou says that his connection with Jozwik is special because he views him as a role model. Economou has received advice from Jozwik that has helped him with life outside of Model UN.

“I consider [Jozwik] to be kind of like a second father because now I can go up to him and talk about my problems,” Economou said. “After committee, if I’m really stressed out, I can always go up to him and I know that he can make me feel a lot better about myself.”

According to Nyssa Beckwith, club advisor and social studies teacher, Economou has  many strengths in Model UN, but his passion is most evident.

“He has the knowledge of Model UN behind him, but the passion of competing helps him to succeed,” Beckwith said. “With Alex in particular, you could see that [his] passion has really driven him to become better as a speaker [and] as a writer in Model UN.”

Such passion has driven Economou to work for the Model UN website Best Delegate, participate in camps all over the country and even go to Budapest with the All-American Model UN team.

“[Budapest is] such an amazing city, and I want to go back there so badly because I just learned so much,” Economou said. “In Europe, they just say what comes to their mind. I think that was a very good experience for me.”

According to Economou, during the summer going into sophomore year, he attended an ambassador program run by Best Delegate at Georgetown University. He said he was able to learn essential conference skills and found an opportunity within their media department.

“My relationship with Best Delegate is that I’m actually a media associate for them, so I kind of work for them, but I don’t get paid,” Economou said. “I focus mostly on Alumni and I write articles about Alumni or my experiences at the Best Delegate Camp. In fact, I’m currently working on an article for a series that they’re doing talking about why high school conferences are better than college conferences.”

Economou did not always know about this passion. It was not until after getting recognition at his second conference at Vanderbilt University that Economou found his enthusiasm for Model UN.

“My first favorite memory was definitely me getting my first award at Vanderbilt because the shock was so amazing,” Economou said. “I think that [the award] was a way for me to see that this is what I’m meant to do.”

Since then, Economou has become increasingly involved with the Model UN team, along with other committees internationally.According to Beckwith, preparation for conferences can be strenuous, but Economou says the reward comes with recognition.

“I think that [the recognition] was a moment for me to realize that my hard work and my passion for Model UN was being seen by Mr. Jozwik and other club members,” Economou said. “It was a great way for me to feel proud of myself because I never really had anything else I was good at.”

Such recognition came recently at the Model UN team’s trip to New York City in March, where Economou won Best Delegate for his committee and had an opportunity to speak at the United Nations. For Jozwik, watching Economou deliver his speech in front of the UN was a moment of great pride, and a special part of Economou’s Model UN career.

“I had the pleasure of sitting in the assembly and watching Alex, by himself, step up to that podium and address 2,000 people about the work of the committee that he served on,” Jozwik said. “That was the highlight of his Model UN career so far, but he will also be back next year as a senior.”

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Economou’s Model UN involvement provides new opportunities