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Press Release for Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Model United Nations Team Gets Real-World Policy Practice

Media Contact: Andrea Mestdagh, Specialist

Department of Public Relations

(904) 620-2192

Imagine being a college student and having the opportunity to learn about diplomacy and international relations, then applying that knowledge as part of a delegation representing a United Nations member country during a simulated exercise. That’s exactly what 12 students from the University of North Florida’s Model United Nations club team did a few weeks ago and brought home top honors.


UNF’s club represented the country of Pakistan and was one of only 17 student teams to receive the first-place honor of Outstanding Delegation, the first in the University’s Model UN history. Additionally, four team members received individual awards at the conference, all accomplishments club President Mitch Gropman says are part of the best thing that’s happened during his time at the University.  


“Being a member of the Model United Nations team has taught me so much. This club has allowed me to improve in leadership, public speaking, teamwork and organizing, allowing me to make some of my closest college friends,” said Gropman, a junior majoring in economics and international studies.


Additional members of UNF’s team are Shawn Adamson, junior; Rachel Bryant, sophomore; Warren Butler, freshman; Yannick Cali, sophomore; Christian Harvey, junior; Imran Khan, junior; Theodore Mason, junior; Cole Poppell, freshman; Katie Pratt, freshman; Stephan Skora, senior; and Christopher Willis, graduate student.


“The best part of the experience was having the opportunity to go out and practice real world policy from the perspective of a different country,” said Bryant, a double major in political science and history with a minor in Chinese. “It was a chance to gain a global perspective and better understand what happens at things like the recent UN Conference on Climate Change in Paris, because we’ve been through the same type of conference.”


Cali and Poppell each received the Most Improved Award, recognizing the delegate(s) who made the biggest jump from the second to the first day of committee. Pratt, Bryant, Skora, and Butler were each recognized as Outstanding Delegates.


“Model UN conferences provide our students a great opportunity to practically apply the concepts and principles they learn in their classes in a live simulation of global negotiations at the highest level,” said Dr. Christine Holland, senior instructor in the Department of Communication at UNF and Model UN faculty advisor. “The competitions bring out the best in our students who participate in these events on their own accord separate from their regular classes.”


The National Model United Nations has established a number of criteria for evaluating delegation performance across all assigned committees. Each element—remaining in character, participating in committee and proper use of the rules of procedure—is equally important to the overall awards determination process.


The National Model United Nations competition is designed to allow students from various universities to represent countries that are current members in the acting United Nations. Each participating school is assigned a country and argues for resolutions based on their country’s point of view. Students write position papers, stating their country’s position on the issues chosen by the head of the conference and send them before the competition begins.  


Some of the other universities the UNF Model UN team competed against include University of Florida, Clemson University, Texas Tech University, Alabama State University, Mississippi State University, University of North Carolina at Greensboro and Georgia Institute of Technology, to name a few. 


UNF’s Model United Nations club meets weekly to practice for Model United Nations conferences. Students in the club also participate in related International events in the community and volunteer with the World Affairs Council of Jacksonville.


UNF, a nationally ranked university located on an environmentally beautiful campus, offers students who are dedicated to enriching the lives of others the opportunity to build their own futures through a well-rounded education.