Model U.N. students win conference honors; organization named outstanding delegation

UCA Model United Nations student delegates were awarded for their efforts at the 54th annual Midwest Model United Nations Conference in St. Louis, Mo. on Feb. 19-22.

The nearly 500 student delegates who attended the conference represented 40 American colleges.

During the conference, student delegates represented countries and had the opportunity to debate and exercise their public speaking skills during the plenary session. They also and learned about the public policies and politics of countries.

Thirteen student delegates from UCA attended, representing Spain and Nigeria.

Junior Juan Mayen, Katelyn Wilkins, Jesus Torres, senior Kate Loyd, Kayla Close, senior Stephanie Gray, Brittaney Williams, Helena Burrow and Lorenzo Bridgewater represented Spain. Lloyd is UCA Model U.N. vice president.

Logan Spurlock, Jordan Kemp, sophomore Breanna Wilbanks and Mallory Walker represented Nigeria.

Mayen acted as head delegate for Spain, and Spurlock was head delegate for Nigeria.

Mark Mullenbach, political science professor and international studies program director, attended the conference with the students. He has taken students to the annual MMUN conferences since 2003 and is the organization’s faculty adviser.

The students representing Spain took home an award for outstanding delegation in the General Assembly Plenary Session. Only five of these awards are given out at each MMUN conference.

Loyd said, “The Outstanding Delegation – General Assembly Plenary Award is the highest honor you can receive as a group at MMUN for the General Assembly and shows that we worked well not just as individuals, but as a cohesive group,”

In addition to its award for outstanding delegation, UCA’s Model U.N. took home an Honorable Mention Outstanding Delegation award.

“[The] Honorable Mention Outstanding Delegation – Economic and Social Council Plenary is another huge honor as it is the runner up for the best delegation award,” Loyd said. “It’s very awesome how well we all worked together at the competition, but it definitely could not have been done without a lot of research on all of our parts and help from Dr. Mullenbach.”

U.N. Ambassador Ian C. Kelly, U.S. representative to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, was the conference keynote speaker.

Last year, Mayen and Spurlock represented UCA at the National Model U.N. conference in New York City.

Mayen serves as UCA Model U.N. president, and Spurlock is treasurer.

Mayen said the events are a great way to gain personal experience for his future career. He has been involved with Model U.N. since high school, when a teacher selected him for the school’s program in his home country of Honduras.

“[My] involvement has helped me grow more in depth with my major, international studies, and understand more of the potential careers my major can have,” Mayen said. “[They could range] from working for national or international non-profits to working for governments or non-governmental organizations that are all centered in improving the livelihood, access to food, water, human rights, and infrastructure for people who need it the most around the world.”

Loyd said she found a love for speaking about and solving global problems though her work with Model U.N.

“Model U.N. here at UCA has been nothing but a positive for me, as the organization helped [me]understand global politics and made me a more confident speaker,” she said. “I absolutely love it.”

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