Baylor Model United Nations Team Honored at National Conference

April 25, 2017

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Media contact: Terry Goodrich, (254) 710-3321

WACO, Texas (April 25, 2017) – The Baylor Model United Nations (MUN) team received Outstanding Position Paper Awards in five of the seven committees in which they participated—the same number of position paper awards that the team received in the last three years combined—at the National Model United Nations Conference in New York City, where thousands of students from more than 100 nations participated in a simulation of the U.N.

“Position papers are based on the students’ research and work prior to the conference, so it reflects their excellent preparation in advance and the collaboration that the students did to put together the position papers,” said Rebecca Flavin, Ph.D., senior lecturer of political science in the College of Arts & Sciences and Baylor MUN faculty advisor. “None of the awards are individual awards. This is very much a team effort.”

At the conference, 14 students from Baylor’s MUN team represented Myanmar in six committees and the Russian federation in the Security Council. Students served as diplomats in simulated sessions of the United Nations General Assembly committees, the Security Council, the International Atomic Energy Agency, the United Nations Environment Assembly and the High Level Political Forum.

“Students have a fantastic opportunity at this particular conference to meet and work with students from all over the world,” Flavin said. “One of the reasons why I love this conference and take students to it year after year is that more than half of the students there are from outside the United States. It really feels like the U.N. in some sense. They’re working alongside students from other nations and cultures and religions, while they themselves have to step outside a U.S.-centric worldview to represent another country’s position.”

At the National Model United Nations Conference, different teams are not competing against each other. Instead, the conference stresses the importance of collaboration and diplomacy.

“My favorite thing about this conference is the exchange of ideas and solutions to global problems between student delegates,” said Megan Rollag, head delegate for the Baylor MUN team. “Many times there are language barriers, differing educational levels and cultural differences that separate students from one another. However, at a conference, delegates are able to collaborate and find common ground together.”

For this conference, students became experts in a variety of contemporary issues facing the international community, such as global nuclear disarmament, harnessing the green economy to eradicate poverty, implementation of the Paris Agreement and the situation in Libya.

“It’s one thing to read and learn about the issues, and it’s quite another to think about the solutions to world problems,” Flavin said. “I can read about clean water. I can read about nuclear nonproliferation. I can read about migration. Now let’s think about ways to solve this. Certainly, they’re doing this in a conference environment, but it really gives them a chance to think about innovative and creative solutions with other students from all over the world.”

In addition to the Outstanding Position Paper Awards, the team of 12 students representing Myanmar on Baylor’s MUN team were named an Honorable Mention Delegation at the conference.

“Not only did I learn a large amount of information about pressing world issues that are happening today, but I also refined my negotiating and networking skills,” Rollag said. “Model U.N. requires a high level of patience, articulation and public speaking. These are all skills the conference helped me improve.”

During the conference, students got the opportunity to visit the United Nations Headquarters. Six Baylor students were able to sit on the United Nations General Assembly floor and use the voting apparatuses to register their votes on resolutions. The conference culminated with a closing session at the United Nations Headquarters, where Peter Thomson, president of the General Assembly, delivered remarks to all the students.

In July, seven students from the Baylor MUN team will attend its first international conference at the U.N. offices in Vienna, Austria.

Click here for more information about Baylor Model United Nations.

by Kalli Damschen, student newswriter, (254) 710-6805

Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 16,000 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.