UN Team Oxford

Model UN Team Brings Back Four Awards from OXford

Three students from the University’s Model United Nations team took home four awards at the Oxford University Model UN Contest (OxiMUN) in Oxford, England last weekend Oct. 25 through Oct. 27. 

Kristen Gomez, a senior English student, won an individual speaker award and an award for best delegate in the International Press Corp Committee; Payton Collander, a junior criminal justice student, and junior political science students Mackenzie Ricca and Nick Boice, won three individual speaker awards.

Individual speaker awards are granted to delegates who demonstrate superior speaking skills in the competition, and the best delegate award is granted to a delegate who showcases the best research, speaking, writing, and debating skills in a committee. 

Team captains Ricca and Matt Gruhler, a senior political science student, were joined by the following additionally Monmouth delegates to Oxford: Paula Echeverria, a senior criminal justice student; Alexis Vasquez, a senior political science student; and Dan Gerdon, a junior political science student. 

Committees consist of 20-30 students and are convened around the various colleges of Oxford University. They cover topics ranging from climate change, water rights on the Nile River, economic development, food security, sex trafficking, border disputes, education, refugee crises, post-war reconstruction, female entrepreneurship in Asia, and regulations of space, among others. Three individual speaker awards are given to each committee, including overall Best Delegate.

The Monmouth team explained that they spent countless hours to to prepare for the contest; they MU practiced every Friday afternoon in Center for Transformative Citizenship (Bey Hall 226). 

“OxiMUN is one of the most competitive contests in Europe, and universities from across Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia send students to compete. OxiMun models the actual United Nations,” explained Ken Mitchell, Ph.D., Chair of the Department of Political Science and Sociology, and an Associate Professor of Political Science who serves as the Monmouth team’s faculty advisor. 

“Students represent a country (USA, Bolivia, Japan, etc.) and serve on a UN committee (UN Human Rights Committee, UN Social and Economic Committee, etc.) that is given two problems to resolve. Over the 3-day contest, the objective is to debate, write and passed (by the committee) policy resolutions,” he explained.

Students win competitions when their resolutions are passed by their respective committees and accepted by their Committee Chair. “Model UN develops skills such as critical thinking, policy writing and research, and group negotiating. ‘Winning the room’ over a 3-day contest is a skill for life,” said Mitchell. 

The Monmouth Model UN team expressed their thanks to alumni and former Model UN delegates James Hawk and Emma O’Rourke, who are both currently graduate students at the London School of Economics, and Liam Coffey and Jackson Pope, who are currently both graduate students at King’s College London. “We are grateful for them attending, inspiring, and mentoring the current Model UN team at OXIMUN,” the team said. 

The University has competed at Model UN contests in the United Kingdom for five consecutive semesters, winning speaker awards consistently. Mitchell said that the team’s accomplishments have helped to establish Monmouth as a “powerhouse on the European circuit,” and explained that alumni in England have been instrumental in expanding the program. “Their current successes as graduate students in international affairs at prestigious international universities is ‘MU at its best,” he said. 

The team also expressed their gratitude to the following for the generous financial support that made this trip possible: Leon Hess School of Business Dean Don Moliver; School of Humanities and Social Sciences Dean Ken Womack; the Department of Political Science and Sociology; and the Student Government Association, for club funding. 

The Monmouth Model UN team is open to all undergraduate students. Around 45 students are active currently.

The team will send 30 students to compete in the Washington D.C. National MUN contest on the weekend of Nov. 8-10. Students interested in joining the Model UN team to compete for next semester should contact the team’s faculty advisors, Mitchell and Kevin Dooley, Ph.D., an Associate Professor of Political Science. 

IMAGE TAKEN from Independent.co.uk