Christiaan Perez, a freshman from Antioch, California, east of San Francisco, re-ignited the Model United Nations club at Hofstra this year. He gathered about 20 students in a Facebook group, raised money from Student Affairs, the Dean of the Hofstra College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the Political Science Department to fund the endeavor. His students competed as the former Yugoslav republic of Macedonia in the Model United Nations in New York City during Spring Break. Christiaan is also active in the student environmental movement, the Progressive Students Union and WRHU and is an Honors College student.
What brought you to Hofstra from California?
I’m here on the LEAP (Legal Education Accelerated Program). I take three years as an undergraduate and then three years of Law School. Essentially, I spend my senior year at Hofstra Law School.
And the (2008 presidential) debate was an added extra incentive. The fact that I was going to be able to get so involved in the campaign. I’m part of with the Progressive Students Union. We started organizing immediately to make sure the media knew what youth thought were the most important issues to be addressed.
How have you become involved in environmental advocacy?
We also got to go down to D.C. on March 2 (2009) for a Power Shift conference all about environmental policy. It was exciting being able to go down to D.C. just to learn about energy policy. Then we went and lobbied our representatives.
What did you do the day of the presidential debate?
I was a volunteer in Hofstra USA (for the Debate Watch party). I was giving out free stuff. But besides that I was working with the Power Vote campaign getting people to sign petitions saying they would vote with clean energy in mind.
Have you always been interested in politics?
Mainly through the Model United Nations in my sophomore year in high school. That really opened my eyes to the process of international relations and the importance of it.
I created a Model United Nations Club here at Hofstra. Next year we’re going to work on expanding it to become a much more international club.
You represent a country and as that country you will have different members going to different committees and you will represent that country on a particular topic. You figure out how to write a resolution on that topic and debate that policy to the point where you develop an understanding of it.
What was it like participating in the Model United Nations in New York?
It was April 5-9 with the opening and closing ceremonies in the U.N. For me it was so exciting because I got to meet people from all over the world. The person representing the U.S. was from Bolivia. The person representing Bulgaria was from Venezuela. The person representing Germany was from France…It was being able to talk to these people from all over.
Where would you like to work after Law School?
I would like to focus on international relations. I’m avoiding politics. In my greatest perspective I would be working to formulate foreign policies for elected officials, ideally at the Department of State.
What do you have lined up for the summer?
This summer I’m working with Grassroots Campaigns in San Francisco. They will send me wherever I’m needed most. At this point it looks like the ACLU, doing street canvassing to raise awareness about the Supreme Court case to overturn Proposition 8.