By Rebecca J. Flavin, lecturer in political science and Model UN advisor
Last week, 14 Baylor University students traveled to Chicago to participate in the American Model United Nations Conference, which brings together more than 1,000 college students to participate in a simulation of the United Nations. These 14 students competed in a field of more than 30 Baylor students to earn a spot on this semester’s traveling team, and we have students of all class years as well as several majors participating.
As Baylor MUN head delegate Tyler Kopas (senior, professional selling) noted, “This was the first collegiate national MUN conference for nine of the 14 students participating, making this a very ‘young’ team, but this means in the spring we will have up to 14 returning veteran conference participants who will have experience negotiating, speaking and writing at a large MUN conference.”
Tiffany Clark (master’s student in international relations) has participated in five collegiate MUN conferences as an undergraduate and now as a graduate student at Baylor, and she echoed Tyler’s enthusiasm about this year’s team. She noted, “Baylor is a smaller team compared to some of the other schools represented at AMUN, but we worked hard to be leaders in all committees. I cannot wait to see the work that is accomplished in New York at NMUN in the spring.”
One of the first-time participants, Sikiru Alagbada (senior, economics), represented Baylor in the General Assembly Second Committee, which focuses on economic and financial issues. He said of the experience, “Preparing for the conference helped me hone my researching skills, while caucusing and giving speeches at the actual conference helped sharpen my negotiation and public speaking skills. It was a great experience and I thank Baylor for the opportunity.”
In keeping with our team’s tradition of seeking to represent a new nation each semester to maximize the learning experience, at the conference our students participated in the simulation as Kyrgyzstan. In this role, the students discussed issues such as counter-terrorism strategies, eliminating malaria, managing conventional weapons stockpiles, promoting science and technology for development, eliminating torture, promoting children’s rights, and considering the effects of atomic radiation.
The resolutions the students produced were written during the course of the conference, which requires that students negotiate intensely with students from other schools to achieve consensus. Given that no resolution makes it to the floor for debate without 20 percent of the delegations present endorsing it, this is an impressive feat.
While the learning experience is always the most important part of these conferences and bringing home awards is not what AMUN emphasizes or I, as an advisor, emphasize, I am proud to recognize two students’ individual accomplishments at conference.
Tyler Kopas was recognized as “Outstanding Delegate” by his committee, which is the highest award that an individual student can be given at this conference. For the second year in a row the students participating in the simulation of the International Court of Justice elected Tiffany Clark to serve as their president, which required she guide the group through their deliberations as they crafted opinions in their three cases.
When asked about the experience, Tiffany said this was “one of my best conference experiences during my time with Baylor Model UN. I was honored to be elected president of the International Court of Justice simulation, and even more honored to work with committee members who were incredibly bright and had researched the cases very thoroughly. We considered three cases, ranging from resource management and territory claims to the legality of Kosovo’s claim for independence from Serbia. Debate over these cases was extensive, and I really appreciated the fact that my fellow justices were not afraid to critique each other’s arguments and even be willing to dissent from the majority opinion. It made the entire experience much more realistic.”
In the spring of 2014, Baylor Model United Nations will travel to two conferences — the second annual Howard Paine University Security Council Simulation (nations TBA) and the National Model United Nations Conference, where we will represent Belize.
The students and I are grateful for your continued support of their endeavors!
Baylor Model United Nations 2013 AMUN Traveling Team (in the order they appear in the photo above):
Front Row (L to R)
Tiffany Clark (MA in international relations)
Mary Margaret Hambuchen (junior, journalism)
Ruth Anne Holiday (junior, international studies)
Renie Saenz (sophomore, history)
Julie James (senior, international studies)
Hannah Mullikin (junior, international studies)
Back Row (L to R)
Eric Vining (freshman, political science)
Marc Webb (freshman, international studies)
Tyler Kopas (senior, professional sales, Baylor Model UN head delegate)
Emily Brizzolara-Dove (junior, international studies)
Matt Demond (junior, economics)
Shehan Jeyarajah (sophomore, political science)
Sikiru Alagbada (senior, economics)
Anthony Severin (junior, political science)