Fast-growing IU Model UN team wins national awards

Note: This guest post was provided by the School of Public and Environmental Affairs and the Office of the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education.

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Competing against more than 30 colleges and universities while speaking the language of diplomacy, the IU Bloomington Model United Nations team earned several awards at the Southern Regional Model UN conference. It is the latest indication of the surge in size and prominence of the Model UN program on the Bloomington campus.

Model UN is a high school and collegiate activity that mimics the United Nations. Teams of students represent nations around the world as delegates to UN committees. They caucus, hold formal debates, negotiate agreements and then select the most effective delegates.

IU Model UN leaders

The IU Model UN leadership team: from left, Casey Crandell, Mara Gonzalez Souto, coach Susan Siena, Erin McMenamin, Eric Cui, Bradi Heaberlin, Kelsey Cooper and Rashmika Nedungadi.

On that score, IU excelled at the conference this month in Charlotte, N.C., where the theme was “Ensuring Peace and Security in a Turbulent Global Environment: Fostering Prosperity and Forward Movement.” IU International Court of Justice Delegate Rashmika Negundadi won an individual award and the IU delegations representing Norway, Oman and Japan were honored. Forty-three IU students traveled to the conference, led by coach Susan Siena.

“I’m so proud of our students and what their performance in Charlotte says about the growth of Model UN at IU,” Siena said. “This is a program that gives students a chance to discuss pressing global issues as they gain critical career-building skills in teamwork, negotiating and public speaking. When you do well, as our team discovered, it can also be a whole lot of fun.”

The Hoosier team is sponsored by the School of Public and Environmental Affairs in Bloomington, where Siena is a faculty member, and by the IU Bloomington Office of the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education and the College of Arts and Sciences. Re-established in 2012, the team has approximately doubled in participants over the past year.

“The students on our Model UN team represent many disciplines across campus and a rigorous undergraduate career,” said Dennis Groth, interim vice provost for undergraduate education. “They are building skills in diplomacy and an understanding of international issues facing our world today. These experiences will prepare them to solve global problems as IU alumni, and we celebrate their endeavors toward leadership and constructive solutions. ”

While the intercollegiate conferences are the cornerstone of Model UN at IU, the program is also expanding in other ways. The group hosts a summer camp on the Bloomington campus that is now in its second year and has attracted high school Model UN competitors from around the world.

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