In a competition with over 185 universities from around the world, the Pace-Westchester Model United Nations team beat expectations and won Outstanding Delegation, the equivalent of first place.
The team consisted of 22 students of the POL 303A: International Organizations course representing the Republic of Ghana. They traveled to New York City (NYC) to take part of the National Model United Nations (NMUN) conference in the Sheraton and Hilton hotels from April 1 to April 5.
According to NMUN, the annual conference brings together “over 5,000 participants to discuss issues at the forefront of international relations,” with each university representing at least one Member State, observer, or non-governmental organization under the UN.
The University of Texas at Dallas, West Virginia University, Universidad San Francisco de Quito, the American University at Rome, and Pace’s NYC campus were among many universities in attendance, along with schools from Bahrain, England, Germany, and Japan.
This is the first NMUN conference for the Pace-Westchester team under political science Professor Paul Londrigan, who succeeded the role from Dr. Gregory Julian last September. The last time the team won Outstanding Delegation at NMUN was 2007, representing the Republic of Mauritius.
The NMUN winners were announced in the General Assembly Hall of the United Nations. There are three levels of awards: Honorable Mention, Distinguished Delegation, and Outstanding Delegation as the top prize. Last year’s team won second place with Distinguished representing the People’s Republic of Bangladesh.
“To be really honest, I didn’t think we’d win Outstanding Delegation because more than half the team was either new or second timers, so I thought we’d win Distinguished,” said senior political science student Noelle Randrianarivony. “It was a shock to me how well we actually did as a team, but I’m so proud to be part of it and graduating with an outstanding title feels complete.”
“It was such an accomplishing feeling, like all the hard work, late nights, and early mornings paid off,” said junior political science student Christine Gramlich.
“Well I think we definitely all had our share of sleepless nights, frustration, stress while writing papers which eventually paid off in the end,” said Randrianarivony. “Every team walks though the opening ceremony with confidence, but I feel like when you look around, everyone’s actually nervous.”
The Pace-Westchester team additionally won Outstanding Position Paper Awards for the UN Economic, Scientific, and Cultural Organization; the African Union; and the Conference on Sustainable Development committees. These awards are based on the outlining the country’s stance on specific issues on an international, regional, and national level.
“The moment they announced that Pace had won an Outstanding Delegation award, I assumed it was the New York City campus because they had already won two awards and the announcer forgot to specify,” said sophomore marketing student Sarah Asante, who was attending her first Model UN conference. “It took a while for it to sink in when I realized we had won, not because I didn’t expect us to, but because at that moment it felt too good to be true, to stand out of thousands of other very intelligent, confident, passionate, and dedicated students from all over the world. I couldn’t feel proud of myself, I could only feel proud for the team, my first family at Pace.“
“As a first timer, non-political science major, it was really tough being surrounded by and having to work with many students who had all these intelligent ideas to discuss for close to a week. I went back to my hotel room a couple of times ready to give up, but with a support team like the Pace-Westchester Model UN team, you wouldn’t want to,” said Asante. “And it ended up being a very rewarding experience.”
“Model UN was one of the greatest experiences of my life thus far,” said freshman Kristina Vukaj, who joined the team about two weeks prior to the conference. “I was inexplicably proud and honored and the victory was like euphoria. Our hard work paid off and proved that together we are unstoppable. NMUN is definitely something I see myself doing in the near future.”
The next Model UN conference will be in Atlanta, Georgia, for the Southern Regional Model United Nations (SRMUN) conference, taking place in November. Students interested in the participating in Model UN and ultimately attend SRMUN can register for the course with CRN 70304.