Baylor Model UN students shine at Chicago conference

November 2015

12 Baylor University undergraduates traveled to Chicago to attend the American Model United Nations Conference, an annual event that brings together approximately 1,500 university students from around the world to participate in a simulation of the United Nations.

The Baylor team represented Slovakia at the conference, serving as diplomats in simulated sessions of the United Nations General Assembly committees (GA), the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) and the International Court of Justice. The conference provided our students with an unparalleled learning experience, enabling them to take the knowledge and skills they acquire in the classroom and apply them to simulated experiences similar to those they will encounter in their post-graduate careers.

Through preparing for and participating in a Model UN conference, our students build myriad skills, including research, public speaking, technical writing and small-group negotiation. For this particular conference, our students became experts in contemporary issues facing the international community that include:

  • Migration (GA 3)
  • Agriculture, food security and nutrition (GA 2)
  • Oceans and Law of the Sea (General Assembly Plenary)
  • The Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons (GA 1)
  • Cities and climate change (UN-Habitat)
  • Terrorism and international law (GA 6)
  • ICJ cases concerning the dispute over the construction of a wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (ICJ)
  • Eco-tourism (GA 2)

For a full list of conference topics as well as more information about the conference, visit the American Model United Nations International website.

While we should celebrate the educational experience above all, our students excelled and represented Baylor well. Four of the 12 team members received individual awards at the conference and were named Outstanding Delegates by their peers in their respective committees. Those students who won awards are:

  • Conor Burns, International Court of Justice Outstanding Justice (senior, political science and philosophy)
  • Bailey Craig, General Assembly 6th Committee (freshman, pre-psychology)
  • Cambrey Dent, General Assembly 6th Committee (senior, political science)
  • Renie Saenz, UN-Habitat (senior, history)

2015 MUN Team

Bottom row (left to right): Cambrey Dent (senior, political science); Conor Burns (senior, political science and philosophy); Katrina Mañalac (junior, secondary education/social studies); Renie Saenz (Baylor MUN head delegate; senior, history); Caroline Caywood (junior, international studies and French); Bailey Craig (freshman, pre-psychology); Top row (left to right): Chris Strange (junior, political science); Luis Andres Torres (freshman, pre-neuroscience); Megan Rollag (junior, Spanish and international studies); Kate Farley (junior, University Scholar); Matt Demond (senior, economics); Marc Webb (Baylor MUN assistant head delegate; junior, international studies).

Original Article available here.

Baylor Model United Nations team represents five countries at state conference

January 2016

13 Baylor students participated in the second annual Texas Model United Nations conference, hosted by the Osgood Center for International Studies and held at the Center for International Business Education at the University of Texas at Austin. Our students represented five nations at the conference:

  • China
  • Germany
  • Slovakia
  • Spain
  • Vietnam

Along with our Baylor University delegates, students from TCU, the University of Texas at Austin, Texas A&M, the University of Texas at Dallas, the University of Texas Permian-Basin, Lamar University, Odessa College, Sacred Heart (Puerto Rico), Bahçeşehir University (Turkey) and the Osgood Center (Washington, D.C.) participated in the conference, simulating four committees: General Assembly First Committee (Security and Disarmament), The World Health Organization, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and the Security Council.

The topics the students researched and discussed at the conference included:

  • Increasing Access to Medical Care in Developing Countries (WHO)
  • Advancing Women’s Participation in Mediation and Peace Processes (Security)
  • Market Access (APEC)
  • Use of Nuclear Materials for Peaceful Purposes (GA 1)
  • Enhancing International Cooperation on the Implementation of Counter-Terrorism (Security)
  • Role of the Media in International Security (GA 1)
  • Providing Basic and Primary Health Care Services After Natural Disasters (WHO)
  • Energy (APEC)
  • Nuclear Free Zones (GA 1)

Our students performed admirably at the conference, learning both about the United Nations and how to be an effective diplomat. While I wish to emphasize that awards are not the point of these invaluable educational experiences and should never be the metric by wish we judge how much our students are learning, when our students are recognized for their participation, we should be doubly proud of their efforts.

Highlighted below are the Baylor students who received awards. Also recognized are the award winners for all of the schools who participated, in order to foster the spirit of cooperation and mutual support advanced by the National Collegiate Conference Association — the organization that sponsors both TexMUN and NMUN-NY, the international conference that 14 Baylor students will attend on March 19-25, 2016.

2016 TXMUN

Top row (left to right): Luis Andres Torres (freshman, pre-neuroscience, Team Award for Outstanding Delegation, China); Grant McDonald (senior, political science); Renie Saenz (Baylor MUN Head Delegate; senior, history, Team Award for Honorable Mention Delegation, Vietnam ); Kate Farley (junior, University Scholar, Individual Award for Outstanding Delegate in Committee, GA First ; Team Award for Outstanding Delegation, China); Shannon Long (junior, biology); Curtis King (senior, political science); Rebecca Easley (senior, history, Team Award for Honorable Mention Delegation, Vietnam); Bottom row (left to right): Conor Burns (senior, political science and philosophy, Team Award for Outstanding Delegation, China); Carolina Gutierrez (sophomore, pre-neuroscience, Individual Award for Outstanding Position Paper, Spain, World Health Organization ); Kim Andrade (sophomore, political science, Team Award for Outstanding Delegation, China ); Jessica Chapa (junior, political science); Maria Astudillo (sophomore, pre-neuroscience, Individual Award for Outstanding Position Paper, Germany, World Health Organization); Shannon Black (senior, international studies)

Original Article available here.

Baylor Model United Nations team is named Outstanding Delegation at national conference

March 2016

14 Baylor University students traveled to New York to participate in the National Model United Nations Conference, which brings together nearly 5,000 university students from around the world to participate in two week-long simulations of the United Nations. The NMUN conference is unique among Model UN conferences in that more than half of the attendees are from universities outside the United States.

The Baylor team represented Vietnam as they researched and discussed important issues facing the international community, including:

  • Transnational organized crime (GA 1)
  • Renewable and sustainable energy for poverty reduction (GA 2)
  • UN Peacekeeping Operations (GA 4)
  • Right to adequate shelter (UN Habitat)
  • Cybersecurity (GA 1)
  • Building cities resistant to climate change and natural disasters (UN Habitat)
  • Sustainable forests (UNEP)
  • Terrorism and human rights (HRC)
  • Human rights and climate change (HRC), and
  • Developments in the field of small arms and light weapons (POA SALW).

For a full list of conference topics, visit the NMUN website.

Baylor University's team was named overall Outstanding Delegation at the conference. This is the highest award given by the conference staff, and only a small percentage of those teams who participate receive this designation. The last time Baylor was named Outstanding Delegation at NMUN was in 2012, when we represented Mali. In 2013 and 2015 Baylor was named Honorable Mention Delegation, and in 2014 Baylor was named Distinguished Delegation. Thus, our students have a long standing pattern of success at conference, but this year the team’s accomplishments are especially noteworthy.

In addition to the overall team honor, several Baylor students received individual recognition at the conference. These are awards given by the students’ peers at conference.

For the Human Rights Council, Kate Farley (junior, University Scholars) and Megan Rollag (junior, international studies) were named Outstanding Delegation in Committee. For the United Nations Environment Programme, Conor Burns (senior, political science and philosophy) and Joe Yope (sophomore, international studies) were named Outstanding Delegation in Committee. This is the highest individual award bestowed by the conference.

In addition, the UNEP position paper won an Outstanding Position Paper award. Joe Yope and Jessica Chapa (junior, political science) researched and co-authored Topic 1, Conor Burns researched and wrote topics 2 and 3, and Shannon Long (sophomore, biology) contributed research for topic 3 and assisted Joe, Jessica and Conor with editing the final draft.

While we should never measure the value of the educational experience by the awards students receive at these conferences, it is certainly a reason to celebrate when their efforts are recognized by both the conference staff and their peers from other universities.

We should be further proud of our fellow Big 12 school, TCU, which was also named Outstanding Delegation for their representation of the Russian Federation at this year’s conference. While our schools may have fierce athletic rivalries, in the context of Model United Nations conferences, students take on the role of diplomats, which requires that they excel through cooperation rather than competition. Thus, the NMUN conference, as well as the TexMUN conference held earlier this semester, provides a unique opportunity for Baylor and TCU students to establish professional relationships that enrich the athletic and academic partnerships between our schools.

These conferences offer our students a unique opportunity to take the knowledge and skills they acquire in the classroom and apply them to simulated experiences similar to those they will encounter in their postgraduate careers. Moreover, this program, along with our other fantastic experiential learning programs here at Baylor — including Mock Trial, Model Organization of American States and Moot Court — each contribute to achievement of our Pro Futuris aspiration of providing transformational educational experiences for our students.

2016 MUN Team

Front row (left to right): Beth Barber (senior, political science); Reed Stevens (senior, political science); Conor Burns (senior, political science and philosophy); Rachel Byer (senior, international studies); Bailey Craig (freshman, psychology); Kate Farley (junior, University Scholars); Megan Rollag (junior, international studies and Spanish); Shannon Black (senior, international studies); Back row (left to right): Luis Torres (freshman, pre-neuroscience); Eric Vining (junior, political science); Marc Webb (junior, international studies 2015-2016 Baylor MUN assistant head delegate); Curtis King (senior, political science); Joe Yope (sophomore, international studies); Renie Saenz (senior, history 2015-2016 Baylor MUN head delegate)

Original Article available here.

Baylor Model United Nations team featured in Waco Tribune article

On April 2, 2016, an article titled "Baylor students learn diplomacy from Model UN, not today's politicians" was published in the Waco Tribune. You can access it here.