The Hunter College Model U.N. team won the top prize of Outstanding Delegation at the National Model U.N. Conference Spring 2015 (NMUN) in New York at U.N. Headquarters, where the Hunter students represented Brazil and Russia.
In addition to winning the Outstanding Delegation award as a team, Hunter took away a grand total of nine individual awards for Outstanding Position Paper and Outstanding Delegate in Committee, competing against 2500 students from 200 colleges from the U.S. and around the world.
The closing ceremony was held at the General Assembly Hall of the United Nations where Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon told the delegates, “you are not just leaders of the future – you can start to lead right now.”
“The Hunter team is part of an experiential learning class in International Relations,” said Professor Pamela Falk, a Distinguished Lecturer who is also the team’s founding faculty advisor and on the Advisory Committee of the National Collegiate Conference Association. “The class and the competition gives the students the knowledge of international relations, diplomacy, and negotiation, as well as the expertise in public speaking and debate, all of which serves them well in any career track they choose.” She said that former Model U.N. classmates at Hunter have become a network for the team, particularly because students have gone on to the best law schools and academic programs as well as jobs in government, academics, Wall Street and non-profit aid organizations.
“As long as you have good intentions, other student delegates will stick with you, and that is the key to your leadership in Model U.N. , ” said freshman Charles Chakkalo.
The Hunter team was on committees to negotiate disarmament, eliminating racial and religious discrimination, the preservation of cultural heritage sites, strengthening criminal justice systems to address gender-based violence, human rights treaties, and a dozen additional topics. In preparation for the competition, the class debated current crises, wrote U.N. resolutions and received a briefing at the Russian Permanent Mission to the United Nations.
The Head Delegates, senior Nickolas Ask and junior John-David Noguera, led the team at the conference. Mr. Ask said, “The students have been motivated throughout the semester and truly had a stellar performance, in line with Hunter College’s great record at national and international competitions.”
The class and team were founded eight years ago when Hunter College President Jennifer Raab initiated the program in order to hone the learning and skills of Hunter students, who have competed at three to four conferences each year and won top prizes in international competitions in South Korea, Malaysia, Ecuador, the Czech Republic, and the U.K., as well as in national competitions at NMUN, in addition to Yale, Columbia, Harvard, and regional conferences.
The additional Outstanding prizes were awarded to Hunter students: Ashley Dennis, Jung Rae Jang, Stefanos Moutafidis, Sayeeda Chowdhury, Nayab Khan, Gabriella Cook-Francis, Faizi Javaid, Zahura Alam, Loraine Farberg, Charles Chakkalo, Sebastian Dumont, Mariana Espinoza, Jazmin Justo, Linda Lin, Boris Litvin, Nerdeen Mohsen, Humza Oza, Pawel Wronowski, Andrew Valentin, William Arguelles, Afshan Kharal, Christian Rojas, Julie Ojiambo, and Peter Rostovsky.
“Model U.N. gave me the opportunity to examine some of the most pressing global issues with students from around the world, said senior Stefanos Moutafidis. “I had the opportunity to work with people and make friends with delegates from Italy, Germany, Ireland and Brazil and memories and friendships I made at this conference will last a lifetime,” added senior William Arguelles. “I don’t know of anything else like Model U.N,” said sophomore Ashley Dennis.
“The NMUN conference was the ultimate test of what we have learned throughout the semester; it requires research skill, public speaking expertise, and art of negotiation,”senior Jung Rae Jang added.