Baylor Model United Nations Breaks Team Records at the 2018 American Model UN Conference

Nov. 28, 2018
2018 Model UN TeamMembers of the Baylor University Model United Nations team. Front row, left to right: Lauren McLane, Clay Parham, Sam Howell, Sophia Fulton, Katie Galgano, Daniela Pacheco and Jennifer Nguyen. Back row, left to right: Andres (Luis) Torres, Noah Wiatrek, Youshay Rizvi, Ben Hunt, Zane Zovak, Bailey Craig and Matt Walker. Not pictured: Jonathan Chew and Oliva Perez.

Media Contact: Lori Fogleman, Baylor University Media and Public Relations, 254-710-6275
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WACO, Texas (Nov. 28, 2018) – Baylor University’s Model United Nations team, which represented the nations of South Africa and Lesotho at the 29th annual American Model United Nations Conference (AMUN) Nov. 17-20 in Chicago, earned top honors and also broke a team record for the most in-committee awards received at the annual conference.

The AMUN conference brought together more than 1,300 students representing approximately 150 Member States in simulated UN committee sessions, where students take on the role of diplomats, debating about and writing resolutions devoted to reaching international consensus on some of the most pressing global problems.

This year, Baylor Model UN undergraduates representing South Africa were named Overall Outstanding Delegation by their peers. Baylor Model UN also won this award in 2014, when the University’s team representing Portugal was named Overall Outstanding Delegation.

Baylor Model UN set a team record, as students in six of the eight committees in which they participated were named Outstanding Delegation in Committee by their peers. The previous team record was set at the 2017 AMUN conference, when the team received recognition in four of the seven committees in which they participated.

“While the primary purpose of these conferences is educational, and the tone of Model UN conferences is intended to be collaborative rather than competitive, these awards are certainly to be celebrated. They mark our students’ excellent achievement in pursuit of these educational goals,” said Rebecca Flavin, Ph.D., senior lecturer of political science in Baylor’s College of Arts & Sciences and adviser to Baylor Model United Nations. “Model UN along with Baylor’s other celebrated experiential educational programs, such as Model Arab League, Model Organization of American States and Moot Court, provide valuable experiences that prepare our students to be leaders in their fields.”

Baylor students participated in eight committees at conference, researching and writing papers on a broad range of topics related to international security, human rights and sustainability, including:

  • “Education for democracy” (General Assembly Plenary).
  • “Consolidation of peace through practical disarmament measures” (General Assembly First Committee).
  • “Women in development” (General Assembly Second Committee).
  • “International cooperation to address and counter the world drug problem” (General Assembly Third Committee).
  • “Criminal accountability of United Nations officials and experts on mission” (General Assembly Sixth Committee).
  • “Sound management of chemicals and waste” (UN Environment Assembly).
  • “International migration and development” (Commission on Population and Development).

In addition to work on these contemporary topics, Baylor students also participated in a select historical and special committee, exploring themes that included:

  • International Commission of Inquiry on Darfur (Commission of Inquiry of 2005).
  • Commission of Experts to Review the Prosecution of Serious Violations of Human Rights in Timor-Leste (formerly East Timor) in 1999 (Commission of Inquiry of 2005).

Baylor students receiving recognition as Outstanding Delegates in Committee at the conference were:

  • Sophia Fulton, a senior Baylor Business Fellows major, and Jennifer Nguyen, a freshman biochemistry and political science from Spring, Texas, for their work in General Assembly Plenary representing South Africa.
  • Youshay Rizvi, a senior international studies major from Plano, Texas, and Matt Walker, a senior University Scholar from Walnut Creek, California, for their work in General Assembly First representing South Africa.
  • Jonathan Chew, a sophomore, Baylor Business Fellows major, and Katie Galgano, a senior international studies major from Highlands Ranch, Colorado, for their work in General Assembly Second representing South Africa.
  • Glenn Buchanan, a sophomore international studies major from Corinth, Texas, and Lauren McLane, a sophomore professional writing and rhetoric and international studies major from Houston, for their work in General Assembly Third representing Lesotho.
  • Bailey Craig, a senior international studies major from Conway, Arkansas, for her work in Commission of Inquiry of 2005 representing South Africa.
  • Sam Howell, a senior medical humanities major from Milton, Vermont, and Zane Zovak, a senior international studies major from Glendora, California, for their work in Commission on Population and Development representing South Africa.

Along with the students named above, other members of the “Outstanding Delegation” representing South Africa included:

  • Andres Cruz, a senior international studies major from Carrollton, Texas.
  • Daniela Pacheco, a senior international studies major from McAllen, Texas.
  • Oliva Perez, a senior Great Texts and political science major from Roma, Texas.
  • Andres (Luis) Torres, a senior neuroscience major from Shavano Park, Texas.
  • Noah Wiatrek, a junior political science major.

In addition to these awards, Bailey Craig, Baylor MUN’s Head Delegate, was elected President of the Commission of Inquiry for its hearing on East Timor. Craig, who represented South Africa in COI, said Model United Nations allows her to put into practice the leadership and speaking skills she has learned over the years.

“I get to research new topics and countries each semester, and I get to meet and work with people from different backgrounds who have different perspectives from my own. Each conference I get to grow as a person, and this year’s AMUN was no different,” Craig said.

Enriching experience

AMUN also has enriched the educational experiences of Sam Howell, who represented South Africa in CPD; Ben Hunt, who represented Lesotho in the General Assembly First Committee; and Luis Torres, Baylor MUN Assistant Head Delegate, who represented South African in the General Assembly Sixth Committee.

“Model UN certainly demands that I draw upon the knowledge I have of international relations and politics, but it also demands that I draw upon the values of kindness, perseverance and consistency that Baylor fosters in its students,” Howell said. “There is truly nothing more rewarding than being able to work collaboratively with students from across the country to achieve a shared goal.”

“Model UN conferences help me learn how to think on the spot and teach me how to respond to situations that I hadn't planned for,” Hunt said. “I especially learned the importance of extemporaneous public speaking. It is easy to read prepared remarks from a page. It is completely different to be called upon and give a refined speech in front of a room of 200-300 people without having any written notes to read from.”

“Model UN provides a unique opportunity for students to practice engaging in constructive discussion about international issues. It has been a huge part of my life and helps me to step out of my comfort zone as a STEM major,” Torres said.

Preparing for 2019

The AMUN conference is the first of three conferences the team will participate in this academic year. In February 2019, 11 team members will travel to Houston to participate in the fifth annual TexMUN conference, where they will represent China and Kuwait in four committees. In April 2019, 15 students will travel to New York to participate in the National Model United Nations Conference, where they will represent Ukraine in seven committees.

The team also recently hosted a MUN High School Conference for more than 350 high school students from around Texas in a one-day simulation of seven committees. Baylor students both served as staff for this conference and developed all the conference research materials used by the high school students in preparation for the event.

Support is provided by the department of political science and Baylor’s College of Arts & Sciences. To learn more about Baylor MUN and its activities, visit www.baylor.edu/modelun.

ABOUT BAYLOR UNIVERSITY

Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 17,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.

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