A team of fresh faces in Baylor Model United Nations named Honorable Mention Delegation at the NMUN-DC Conference
On November 3-6, 2022, ten members of Baylor’s Model United Nations team along with one head delegate traveled to Washington, D.C. to participate in the 16th annual NMUN-DC conference, representing Kenya in five committees. This was the first national Model UN conference for nine of the ten 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 ten 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) reflected on what it was like to attend conference for the first time, noting:
I went into the conference with a bit of trepidation because it was my first time every doing anything like it. 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) echoed Grayson’s sentiments, sharing:
For my first Model UN conference I had a wonderful time in discussion with other schools and Member States on the work of UNEA. 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 Model UN team wishes to thank the Department of Political Science and 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) sums up the benefits of the conference well, remarking:
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. I’m so grateful for this opportunity!
Position Paper Award Winners
Below is a list of all the class and club members who contributed to research, writing, and editing for the award-winning position papers.
GA 2: Jesse Drapela (Senior, Political Science), Nathan Fox (Senior, Political Science), Revina Karani (Senior, Psychology and International Studies), Jla Laboy (Senior, Communication – Rhetoric and Public Discourse)
WHA: Xiang “Shaun” Ji (Junior, International Studies), Krish Kothari (Junior, Political Science) and Isabella Vierling (Junior, Political Science)
SC: Laila Donawa (Junior, International Studies), Tori Jones (Sophomore, International Studies), and Danielle Miller (Freshman, Political Science)
Baylor Students Shine at NMUN-Japan
On November 18-28 seven members of Baylor’s Model United Nations Team traveled to Kobe, Japan to participate in the National Model United Nations (NMUN) Japan conference. Baylor’s team represented Kenya and the United Republic of Tanzania in four committees that simulated the work of the United Nations General Assembly, Economic and Social Council, Security Council, and Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Committee. The topics the students researched in advance and discussed at conference included:
- Promoting Mental Health and Improving Access to Care (GA);
- Adapting Energy Systems for Energy Security and Climate Change Mitigation (GA);
- Addressing Food Security in a Globalized World (ECOSOC);
- Promoting Sustainable Economic Participation of Youth (ECOSOC);
- Practical Measures to Implement Article VI (NPT);
- Strengthening Measures for Nuclear Security (NPT);
- The Situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (SC); and
- Strengthening Women’s Role in Peacebuilding (SC).
At the conclusion of the conference, Baylor’s team was named an overall Outstanding Delegation, the highest team award given at Model UN conferences. In addition, every member of Baylor’s team received individual recognition with some delegates receiving multiple awards. The team received Outstanding Position Paper Awards in three out of the four committees in which it participated, recognizing research completed in advance of conference and received Outstanding Delegation Awards in three out of the four committees in which it participated in recognition of work done in committee at conference. In other words, the team won nearly every award it could possibly win at the conference! The full list of award winners is provided below, but more important than the awards the team brought home to Baylor was the exceptional educational experience afforded by the conference, which was just the second international conference held outside the U.S. Baylor students have attended.
More than 300 students from more than 40 universities from around the world participated in NMUN-Japan 2022, which was co-hosted by the Kobe City University of Foreign Studies (KCUFS). KCUFS students led the conference attendees on cultural visits to Kobe, Hiroshima, and Kyoto before the conference sessions officially began on Wednesday, November 23. The visit to Hiroshima was especially important, given the conference’s focus on topics related to peaceful uses of nuclear energy as well as nuclear disarmament. In Hiroshima, the delegates visited the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, Atomic Bomb Dome, Children’s Peace Monuments, and the Peace Memorial Museum, which is dedicated to documenting the horrors of nuclear weapons and advocating for nuclear non-proliferation. The cultural experience also included a moving testimony from Ms. Ogura Keiko, a survivor of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, who shared her first-hand account of the events of the day and the aftermath. Student guides from KCUFS taught the NMUN delegates how to make origami paper cranes, which are a symbol of peace that has a special meaning for the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park where there are displays of thousands of paper cranes made by students from around the world. The nearly 1,000 paper cranes made by Baylor students and others attending the conference will be added to the peace display.
The conference plenary sessions were especially enriching for our students and included a panel discussion on Sustainable Peace moderated by Mr. Tetsuo Kondo, who is the Director of the Representation Office in Tokyo of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and provided perspectives from individuals who work for the UN, NGOs, as well as businesses and others in the private sector. The Opening Ceremony featured welcome remarks delivered remotely by Setsuko Thurlow, the 2017 winner of the Nobel Peace Prize for her work in the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN). Thurlow is a survivor of the August 1945 atomic bomb in Hiroshima, and in her remarks to the NMUN-Japan students she reiterated the heightened importance of nuclear non-proliferation in the context of the current war in Ukraine. The conference’s closing session remarks from Izumi Nakamistu, the UN Under-Secretary General and High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, charged the students to take the lessons they learned at the conference and apply them in their professions as the next generation of leaders working to promote peace and sustainability. Baylor’s team left the conference energized and excited to make their mark on the world around them.
Baylor’s Model UN team would not have had this amazing opportunity without the generous financial support it received from departments across the university. The team is grateful for support received from:
- the Baylor Business Fellows Excellence Fund,
- the Center for Global Engagement,
- the College of Arts and Sciences,
- the department of Economics,
- the Department of Political Science,
- the Hankamer School of Business,
- the McBride Center for International Business, and
- the Program in International Studies.
This conference marks just the mid-point in an exciting year for our team. In February eight students will participate in the Texas Model United Nations Conference (TexMUN) in Austin, Texas, representing the United States, Poland, and Kenya. In April, sixteen students will represent Poland at the National Model United Nations Conference in New York; team auditions for the New York conference will take place in late February.
Outstanding Delegation Team Photos
Picture #1: Cultural Visit to Kiyomizu Temple – Kyoto
Picture #2: Conference Day 1