By Rebecca J. Flavin, senior lecturer in political science and Model UN advisor
On Nov. 3-6, 2022, 10 members of Baylor’s Model United Nations team, along with one head delegate, traveled to Washington D.C. to participate in the 16th annual National Model United Nations (NMUN-DC) conference, representing Kenya in five committees.
This was the first national Model UN conference for nine of the 10 Baylor team members. The conference attained its pre-pandemic size and diversity of schools participating, as more than 1,000 delegations from universities across the United States as well as from Germany, Italy, China, Norway, Canada, Taiwan, South Africa, and Japan debated and drafted resolutions on topics including:
- The Relationship Between Disarmament and Development (GA 1);
- Addressing International Migration and Development (GA 2);
- Protecting and Restoring Marine Habitats (UNEA);
- Addressing Global Vaccine Distribution Disparities (WHA); and
- The Situation in Afghanistan (SC).
The 10 members of Baylor’s team represented Kenya in five committees: General Assembly First (GA 1), General Assembly Second (GA 2), United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA), World Health Assembly (WHA), and Security Council (SC). The team was named an Honorable Mention Delegation for its work across these five committees. Awards are commendable in any semester but considering only one of the delegates assigned to represent Kenya had attended an in-person collegiate MUN conference before, this accomplishment is all the more noteworthy for this young team.
Grayson Shirey (junior international studies major) reflected on what it was like to attend the conference for the first time:
“I went into the conference with a bit of trepidation because it was my first time every doing anything like it,” she said. “But the incredible cultural diversity, amazing experiences, and varying interests possessed by those in the room made for an inclusive and collaborative environment where I could learn as I went and enjoy every moment. I cannot wait for the next conference!”
Fellow teammate and first-time participant Laila Donawa (junior international studies major) echoed Grayson’s sentiments:
“For my first Model UN conference I had a wonderful time in discussion with other schools and Member States on the work of UNEA,” she said. “I will remember this weekend for the added experience in public speaking, group work, and friendships.”
In addition to the Honorable Mention award shared by the whole team, our club and class members received Outstanding Position Paper awards in three of the five committees in which they participated: GA 2, WHA, and Security Council. Position paper awards recognize and reward the delegates’ preparation and research; these papers are submitted weeks in advance of conference to be judged by committee staff.
Before students are prepared to write a position paper, though, they must complete extensive research on the policy positions of their assigned Member State, immersing themselves in speeches, press releases, and news articles by the Member State in order to portray their country’s diplomatic stance effectively and accurately. In addition to remaining in character and accurately representing their assigned Member State, delegates must research and propose policy solutions that will garner the consensus of the international community, which is the goal of the in-person conference and the subject of resolutions.
The Baylor Model UN team wishes to thank the Department of Political Science and the College of Arts & Science for their financial support that made participation in and travel to this conference possible. Team member Tori Jones (sophomore international studies major) summed up the benefits of the conference well.
“NMUN-DC was an incredible opportunity to meet people from around the world with similar interests and passions, learn a ton about global affairs, and sharpen my communication skills,” Tori said. “I’m so grateful for this opportunity!”
Later this week, eight members of Baylor’s Model UN team will travel to Kobe, Japan, to participate in NMUN-Japan, departing Nov. 18 and returning Nov. 28. This extraordinary trip, which is Baylor MUN’s second international conference in the team’s history, is made possible through the generous support of the Department of Political Science, the College of Arts & Sciences, the Baylor Center for Global Engagement, the Hankamer School of Business Dean’s Office, the Baylor Business Fellows Program, the Department of Economics at Baylor, the Baylor Program in International Studies, and Baylor’s McBride Center for International Business.
The Model UN team is also currently preparing for the TexMUN conference to be held in February 2023 in Austin, Texas, where six to eight delegates will represent Kenya, Poland, and the United States –– as well as the NMUN-NY conference in April 2023, where a 16-member team will represent Poland.
Earlier this semester, 30 members of the class and club participated in the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Model United Nations Refugee Challenge. Currently, the Baylor team is taking part in the UNHCR’s “Read for Action” Global Humanitarian Book Club, too. It has been a busy and fulfilling year for our team, and we’re not yet to the half-way point!
Position Paper Award Winners
The following is a list of all the class and club members who contributed to research, writing, and editing for the award-winning position papers.
General Assembly 2:
- Jesse Drapela (senior political science major)
- Nathan Fox (senior political science major)
- Revina Karani (senior psychology and international studies major)
- Jla Laboy (senior communication major — rhetoric and public discourse)
World Health Assembly:
- Xiang “Shaun” Ji (junior international studies major)
- Krish Kothari (junior political science major)
- Isabella Vierling (junior political science major)
- Laila Donawa (junior international studies major)
- Tori Jones (sophomore international studies major)
- Danielle Miller (freshman political science major)
Model UN team members in the group photo at top:
Front row, left to right: Jesse Drapela (senior political science major), Tori Jones (sophomore international studies major), Malaika John (senior Baylor Business Fellow major–management, and professional writing/rhetoric), David Mikalsen (sophomore political science major) and Isabella Vierling (junior political science major)
Back row, left to right: Krish Kothari, co-head delegate (junior political science major), Laila Donawa (junior international studies major), Grayson Shirey (junior international studies major), Nathan Fox (senior political science major) and Revina Karani (senior psychology and international studies major)
Delegate not pictured: Danielle Miller (freshman political science major)