Model UN team wins Outstanding Delegation award at D.C. conference

Elisa D’Egidio, Student Life Editor

The University of New Haven’s Model United Nations (MUN) team won two Outstanding Delegation awards, three Outstanding Position Paper awards and two Outstanding Delegates in Committee awards at the National Model United Nations (NMUN) conference held from Nov. 4 to Nov. 7 in Washington, D.C.

This is not the first time MUN received the Outstanding Delegation, with wins in 2016 and 2017.

This year’s MUN class included head delegates Alissa Davies and Nicholas Thompson, and delegates Samuel Weinmann, James Lande,, Kelsey Shabanowitz, Aleksandros Spaho, Alyssa Cashman, Andrew Colford, Cassandra Napoli, Catherine Tomczyk, Chris Fogarty, Declan McLoughlin, Ethan Aragao, Hawa Kane, Jordan Weisensel, Joshua Cheatham, Lillian Newton, Marissa Lehner, Meagan Wong, Sanduni Muhamdiramge, Sankofa Benzo, Vidushi Jha and Yasmin Makmak.

Charger Bulletin’s Politics Editor and MUN delegate Samuel Weinmann said the NMUN conference allows college-level students, globally, to come together twice a year to discuss real-world problems. Here, students are assigned a country to represent, and during the conference, each country must work with other delegates to address real issues. At the end of the conference, the students vote on each other’s resolutions to turn them into real resolutions.

Head delegate and forensic psychology senior Davies said her experience has been positive. “NMUN has represented an evolving challenge that pushes me to go beyond my comfort zone and achieve great things.”

This year, the university’s team represented Ireland and Jamaica where they both won the highest award, which is Outstanding Delegation. In total, they won seven awards in four different committees, including GA1 – General Assembly First Committee, UNEA – United Nations Environment Assembly, GA3 – General Assembly Third Committee and HLPF – High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development.

Kelsey Shabanowitz, MUN delegate and junior forensic science major, said, “The Outstanding Delegation award is the best possible award to win at an NMUN conference. It represents the commitment that each delegation showed at [the] conference, and it shows our dedication to Model UN as a university.”

As a delegate for MUN, Shabanowitz shares that her role is to be vocally and mentally active as delegates are assigned the role of discussing the assigned topics and drafting solutions.

“Being able to represent UNH at [the] conference and to bring back those awards was such a rewarding feeling, especially knowing that we are automatically held at a high standard,” said Shabanowitz.

Although the process was nerve-wracking, she recalled the immense amount of joy and relief felt when the university was awarded this high honor. She said she “cried tears of relief and happiness when both of our teams were announced”

“Winning this award when you are part of the team versus winning it when you’re leading the team feels so different. As a delegate, you certainly feel happiness for your team for their collective efforts. But as a head delegate, the best way to describe the feeling is that of immeasurable pride and joy,” Davies said. “Pride that you were able to prepare your students enough so that they could perform to the highest standards of diplomacy and leadership that NMUN requires of its delegates.”

As head delegates, Davies and Thompson had the responsibility of teaching the other students involved. Their main objectives were to teach them how to be effective leaders while also instilling research, debate and diplomacy skills.

“One of the biggest lessons I learned through this organization is to not be afraid to put yourself out there, even though you may be wrong. The confidence that radiates off of you when you put yourself out there is a surreal feeling,” said Shabanowitz.

During this year’s conference, the team had the opportunity to visit multiple alumni panels and visit the Irish Embassy.

Both Davies and Shabanowitz mention that this organization is something any student can be a part of. They said it is beneficial regardless of major as the organization polishes research skills, interpersonal skills, confidence and leadership strategies.

Those interested in joining NMUN can reach out to MUN Professor Chris Haynes at [email protected], reference the NMUN website for further information and learn more about the organization at unewhaven.mun.org.