Model UN Wins

Model UN WinsThe University’s Model United Nations (UN) Team took home awards at the Southern Regional Model UN (SRMUN) contest in Charlotte, NC, last Thursday, March 28 through Sunday, March 31. 

The team of Mackenzie Ricca, a sophomore political science student, Kristen Gomez, a sophomore English student, Dan Gerdon, (a sophomore political science student, Jackson Pope (a senior political science student), and Nick Gibson (a junior political science student) took home a coveted Best Delegation award for their country, South Sudan. 

These students competed on three different committees and their combined policy resolutions earned them the team victory. 

Ricca, who served as the team’s captain, also won an individual Best Delegate prize representing South Sudan on the Group of 77 (G-77) committee.

On her committee, she tackled two issues: (i) Combating Poverty in Developing Member States through Agricultural Development and (ii) Improving Inter-State Conflict Prevention Strategies. 

“My experience at the (SRMUN) this weekend was unlike any other I have ever had,” said Ricca. “I was extremely honored to be awarded as single best delegate in my committee, as I worked incredibly hard to pass multiple resolutions and promote policy development through allies with other students.” 

Ricca explained that for three straight days, she mastered, debated, and wrote winning policy resolutions on the complex topics of “economic development and agriculture” as well as “preventing inter-state war.” She is the first Monmouth student in all 20 years of the University’s history of competing to win Best Delegate prizes at four separate contests: London MUN (winter 2018), Oxford University MUN (fall 2018), London MUN (winter 2019) and SRMUN (spring 2019).

“Model UN has given me confidence, new friends, and has expanded my knowledge so much on international policy,” she said. “It has definitely been such an amazing experience continuing to build this team so much and competing with such an awesome group of people.” 

Gibson attributed his success to the club, stating, “[Model UN] has personally made me more outgoing and I could not be more grateful to the club. It has been instrumental for my development as a college student.” 

Ken Mitchell, Ph.D., Chair of the Department of Political Science and Sociology and an associate professor of political science, attended the tournament as the team adviser. He said that over 500 students from universities across the United States represented 77 separate countries, and the University’s students were able to distinguish themselves, competing “at a very high level.” 

With 16 students on the team, Monmouth sent one of the largest delegations at the contest, representing three countries: South Sudan, Serbia, Mozambique, and Azerbaijan.

Junior political science students Matt Gruhler and Alexis Vasquez represented Mozambique and collaborated on the University’s successful G-77 policy resolutions. 

Students who also competed were: Vanshelly Tavarez (a freshman marketing student), Maddie Doe (a junior political science student), Julia Bialy (a junior political science student), Paula Echeverria (a sophomore criminal justice student), Payton Collander (a sophomore political science student), Colleen Fagan (a freshman psychology student), Liam Crowley (a freshman political science student), Griffin Shields (a sophomore political science student), and Sam Ibiezugbes (a junior political science student). 

These students competed on two committees: (i) General Assembly Plenary: Challenges of Eliminating Forced Labor and Improving Access to Quality Healthcare for Children and (ii) General Assembly First: Utilizing Advancements in Technology to improve Global Security and Preventing Violent Extremism by Non-State Actors.

Model UN contests simulate the actual United Nations: its rules, its procedures. Students represent an assigned country and design policy solutions capable of building consensus with other countries. Critical thinking, public speaking, policy knowledge and policy writing are all skills associated with Model UN contests. 

“SRMUN ends another impressive academic year of MUN at MU. Today MUN, is the most popular extracurricular activity at USA high schools, measured in overall numbers of participating students,” Mitchell explained. “At the college level, Monmouth University has established a strong national and international MUN program.”

The University’s Model UN teams competed at two contests in the fall 2018 (Oxford University and Washington, D.C.) and at three contests in spring 2019 (Harvard, London, and Charlotte). “Our Teams won Best Delegate prizes at Oxford, London, and Charlotte. That’s amazing,” Mitchel exclaimed. 

The team wishes to say good-bye to graduating senior Pope. He competed at NYU (spring 2018), Oxford (fall 2018), London (winter 2019), and Charlotte. He won a Best Delegate prize (Oxford, fall 2018), a Best Delegation prize (Charlotte, spring 2019) and he mentored several new students for the Charlotte contest. 

The team also expressed gratitude to the Provost Office, the Department of Political Science and Sociology, and Donald Moliver, Dean of Leon Hess Business School, for their continued financial support that makes these transformative educational experiences possible.

Model UN is open to all undergraduate students and no experience is necessary. Students interested in joining the team should contact Mitchell.

PHOTO COURTEST of Mackenzie Ricca