On Sept. 4-6, 2020 four members of Baylor’s Model United Nations team and one Baylor Model UN alumnus participated in a Model Security Conference hosted by the Osgood Center for International Studies. The conference was attended by approximately 60 university students and recent graduates, who joined virtually from their homes across the United States as well as from China and Jordan.
The conference featured two concurrent Model Security Councils whose topic was the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). The NPT went into force in March 1970, and the conference commemorated the 50th anniversary of this important achievement in global security by considering contemporary issues related to non-proliferation and the Security Council’s role in the enforcement of the disarmament agenda. In preparation for the conference, students took on the role of Member States who currently have seats on the Security Council, researching and submitting a position paper in advance of the three-day conference.
Baylor’s four student leaders for the 2020-2021 academic year represented the United Kingdom in Councils 1 and 2:
- Caelan Elliott (co-assistant head delegate, junior, University Scholar)
- Sophia Fulton (co-head delegate, senior, Business Fellow)
- Lauren McLane (co-head delegate, senior, international studies and professional writing and rhetoric)
- Jennifer Nguyen (co-assistant head delegate, junior, biochemistry and political science)
Andrew Person, an August 2020 Baylor graduate in history, represented Indonesia in Council 1.
I’m delighted to share that all five Baylor participants received Outstanding Position Paper Awards for their advance preparations AND were named Outstanding Delegations in Committee by the conference staff, the highest award given at the conference. In addition, the delegates representing the United Kingdom received the Delegate’s Choice Award in both Security Council 1 and 2, an award given by their peers.
This conference kicked off an active academic year for the Baylor Model United Nations team, which will include four more conferences — two this fall and two in the spring of 2021. Due to COVID-19, for at least three of these conferences, our students will participate virtually. The students who participated in the Model Security Council unanimously agreed, however, that they were pleasantly and delightfully surprised by what a positive experience the virtual conference provided, even as they were disappointed to miss out on the social and interpersonal aspects afforded by in-person conferences.
Baylor’s co-head delegate, Sophia Fulton (a senior Business Fellow), shared the following:
Participating in the Osgood Center’s first online Security Council simulation presented both exciting new challenges and a comforting return to the expected debate and research of Model United Nations. Like the real United Nations, we learned to adapt to our current pandemic realities and still press on towards successful cooperation. The online format pushed us to develop especially relevant skills: we learned how to effectively network and build consensus when we can’t physically gather. The online platform presented new technological challenges, and yet we adapted and created viable solutions on nuclear disarmament, non-proliferation, and peaceful uses of nuclear energy. This conference also helped me realize the skills we always prioritize in Baylor Model United Nations— humble leadership, strong research, and friendly cooperation— are even more important in virtual conferences and in navigating a pandemic world.
Co-assistant Head Delegate Caelan Elliott (a junior University Scholar) echoed Sophia’s praise of the conference, adding:
Although switching to a virtual format for this conference posed unique challenges, I felt that I was able to grow personally and professionally in skills that are universally relevant to our time. Getting to research and learn more about the Non-Proliferation Treaty and the complexities of nuclear weapons and energy in today’s world was definitely an intriguing process, and I learned so much. Furthermore, working with the varying perspectives of other delegates on this topic helped me continue to grow, as I do in every Model UN competition, in key skills such as compromise, cooperation, and diplomacy, which I take with me into a variety of situations. I am very thankful to have had this opportunity!
Baylor Model United Nations is able to participate in these academic conferences due to the generous support of the Department of Political Science and the College of Arts & Sciences. We are grateful for the University community’s continued encouragement of our team members. Our next conference is NMUN-DC, which we will participate in virtually on Nov. 6-8, representing Angola, Thailand and the United Kingdom. For more information about our team and its activities, visit our website.