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Model UN to Head to New York, Guided by Former UN Official Bertil Lindblad ’78

Pomona College Model UN delegation at McGill Model UN Assembly

Pomona College Model United Nations delegation at the McGill Model United Nations Assembly (from left to right): Kelebogile “Kelly” Zvobgo (PO ’14), Zuzana Vuová (PO ’14), Harmony Egbe (ICU/PO ‘15), David Baxter (PO ’16), Lazaros Chalkias (PO ’16) and Hannah Cotter (SC ’15)

Pomona College’s Model United Nations team is traveling across North America and discovering the inner workings of the UN and other organizations working to change the world. The team is under the guidance of Bertil Lindblad ’78, the College’s senior advisor for international initiatives and a former director at the United Nations. Lindblad’s extensive international work will offer the team opportunities to visit the UN headquarters and meet several of his former colleagues at UNICEF, UNAIDS and the UN Secretariat when they travel to New York in April for the National Model UN Conference.

The team visited McGill University in Montreal in January for the McMUN Conference, where the delegates represented the Republic of Djibouti, and where head delegate Kelebogile Zvobgo PO ’14 was recognized as Best Delegate in African National Bank.

“The Model UN programs in colleges, universities and high schools all over the world is an incredible feature of learning because it provides students with great opportunities to learn about global issues, and [insight into] how member states of the UN work together to seek solutions, and often through complex, and at times, difficult negotiations,” says Lindblad, citing the numerous issues the UN addresses, including climate change, global health and gender equality.

Lindblad brings 30 years of firsthand international experience both to his leadership of the team and his newly created role at the College facilitating and expanding Pomona’s global relationships and engagement. Lindblad began his career in Moscow with the Swedish Embassy in 1980. Prior to his appointment as director of the UNAIDS New York office, he served as the UNAIDS Regional Director for Eastern Europe and Central Asia, based in Moscow; was senior advisor/child protection at UNICEF; and held senior positions at the Swedish Save the Children, including country representative in Vietnam. Zvobgo calls Lindblad fearless and looks forward to traveling to New York with him to visit the national MUN and meet some of his former UN colleagues.

Lazaros Chalkias PO ’16 says working in the UN environment is challenging, and he values the trust, partnership, support and leadership demonstrated by the faculty, staff and students he’s worked with at Pomona as part of Model UN.

“I am excited to take all these values and strengths to New York and around the world with this unique group for the years to come,” says Chalkias.

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