Model UN Continues to Build Legacy, Academic Focus

The UNC Charlotte Model United Nations team continues to build its legacy after successfully competing in two conferences last semester, earning top awards at each. These successes and expansions in the program continue a winning record and set the stage for the future.

“The strong success of our Model UN program shows that our students have been diligent in their research and preparation,” said Cindy Combs, faculty advisor and Political Science and Public Administration professor. “We are so proud of their accomplishments. Their hard work is a testament to them and inspires all of us involved with the Model UN program at UNC Charlotte.”

Model United Nations simulates the United Nations in an academic environment, helping to educate delegates on international policies and institutions and helping students learn to develop potential solutions to international issues. Offered as a class, students meet twice a week and conduct mock simulations to prepare for competitions. Attendees represent countries and benefit from embassy and committee briefings by prominent speakers from the diplomatic community.

In an expansion of the program in the 2015-16 academic year, the students are interviewing professors who conduct research in a variety of disciplines. This allows students to gain knowledge on related countries and subjects, said Mary Jo Shepherd, a Political Science and Public Administration lecturer who teaches the Model UN class.

“Model UN has expanded to include involvement of faculty from other departments,” Shepherd said. “The students really have to know the countries they represent and the issues in those countries. Gaining insights from other faculty and disciplines teaches them the basics of how to create, collaborate on, and evaluate policy.”

This spring, select participants from the class will travel to the Harvard World conference in Rome, Italy. They will represent the country of Lebanon, incorporating what they have learned from professors on various subjects, including health and public policy, economic policy, and terrorism funding. Model UN also will participate in the Southern Regional MUN Conference in Charlotte this March.

In fall 2015, in its first time competing at the National Model UN – DC conference in three years, eight veteran Model UN students from UNC Charlotte represented Algeria. The delegates won a Distinguished Delegation Award, with four students receiving Outstanding Delegate Awards. The conference was held in Washington, D.C. Oct. 30 – Nov. 1, 2015. Almost 800 university students from the United States and overseas competed.

An even larger UNC Charlotte Model UN team competed in the Southern Regional MUN Conference in Atlanta in November 2015. More than 650 students from universities, mostly in the southeastern United States, participated.

In all, 40 delegates from UNC Charlotte represented the countries of Iran, Algeria, Argentina and Spain across 10 different committees. The team won an Outstanding Delegation Award for its representation on Algeria, and two Distinguished Delegation Awards for its representation on both Argentina and Iran. Team members also received 11 individual Outstanding Delegate Awards.

Those receiving Outstanding Delegate Awards were:

  • Brendon Grants and Camden Diggs, representing Algeria in WHO
  • Seth Taylor-Brill, representing Iran in World Health Summit
  • Emily Grassett, representing Spain in World Health Summit
  • Mackenzie Goff and Olivia Pesterfield, representing Argentina in CPD
  • Jacob Hunt and Sam Hecksher, representing Argentina in ECLAC
  • Campbell King and Raven Langhorne, representing Algeria in the African Union
  • Andrea Greer, representing Algeria in the League of Arab States

Additionally, experienced members and alumni have served on staff this year:

  • Noah Vetter, member of Press Corps
  • Kristina Drye, Managing Editor of Press Corps
  • Justin Kramer, Assistant Director, GA Plenary
  • Rachael Gutierrez, Assistant Director, GA Plenary
  • Sebastian Feculak, Assistant Director for ECLAC
  • Samantha O’Brien, Director of Security Council
  • Angel Truesdale, Under-Secretary General
  • Joel Fitzgerald, Director General

Words: Tyler Harris | Image: Courtesy of Cindy Combs

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