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Huron sends its First All-Women Model NATO Team to Ottawa

April 7, 2017

As the school year winds down, Huron University College is celebrating a historic first. Over Reading Week, this small university with big ideas sent its first all-women Model NATO (MNATO) team to the 2017 national delegation in Ottawa, Ontario.

For 3rd year student Ruth Lebelo-Almaw, the experience provided a collaborative way to develop tactics and strategies to confront real world problems: “Our team was representing Denmark, and it was amazing to see how we came together. We had to think on our feet, manage crises as they happened. We would have four hour committee meetings and need to get resolutions passed.”

With an opportunity to confront gender politics head on, these four women truly embodied Leadership with Heart. “Because NATO is military-based, having the voices of women in a largely masculine sphere was significant,” Ruth says. 

After meeting with the Danish Ambassador and embassy staff the group was able to gain insight regarding the Scandinavian country’s policy goals. “The Ambassador was so generous to us,” Ruth says. “We had to really understand Denmark’s current policy objectives, but we also had to find ways to cooperate with other countries that had opposing views. We got to learn about ourselves in relation to international affairs.”

The Huron team also met MP Karen McCrimmon, the current Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport and the first woman to command a Canadian Forces flying squadron. The Honorable McCrimmon was so impressed with the all-women team from Huron and the new Leadership with Heart vision that she encouraged other delegates to Lead with Heart during their time in Ottawa and beyond.

For Huron first-year student Natalie Cross, the experience was a way to use academic learning outside the classroom, but also to step outside her comfort zone. “Debating foreign policy at Model NATO was not where I pictured myself when I was in high school last year,” she says. “Huron gave me this unique opportunity.”

For Kendall O’Donnell, the experience has been a catalyst for learning and personal growth. She explains, “My involvement over the last two years with MNATO has been nothing short of amazing. From being a nervous first time delegate to leading a team of amazing women, my experience with MNATO had me feeling inspired and proud of myself, during the conference and long after.”