Baylor Model United Nations team breaks personal records at New York conference

Sixteen members of Baylor's Model United Nations team traveled to New York to participate in the National Model United Nations Conference. Photo courtesy of Model United Nations

By Luke Araujo | Staff Writer

Sixteen members of Baylor’s Model United Nations (Model UN) team traveled to New York to take part in the National Model United Nations Conference (NMUN-NY) and came back bearing new personal accomplishments.

For the first time in its history, the team — which has a history of breaking records received an Outstanding Delegation Award alongside an award for every individual member of the team. On top of this, six of its eight committees received a Position Paper Award.

Model UN is a series of simulations that lets students take on the role of real-world diplomats who work at the UN and represent the interests of member states. There are 193 member states in the UN, with over half of the conference’s participants coming from outside the U.S. to represent these member states.

In eight committees, Baylor’s team represented Qatar and simulated the work of UN representatives. The team of students tackled resolutions to issues such as the threat posed by improvised explosive devices (IEDs), the need for fair and inclusive access to education and the situation of and aid to Palestinian women.

Fremont, Calif., sophomore Krish Kothari said the team’s preparation for conferences starts months in advance.

“When we are assigned our member state and committee, we begin by compiling our research into an annotated bibliography known as an issue briefing,” Kothari said. “From there, we write a rough draft for our position paper that normally goes through multiple rounds of edits. Near the end, we combine our papers with other classmates who wrote the same topic, so that way, we can have a wide variety of research in them.”

The team attends at least three conferences a year — one regional and two national.

Dr. Rebecca Flavin, adviser of Baylor’s Model UN team, said the team attended conferences online for the entirety of the 2020-2021 school year. The 2021-2022 school year marks the gradual return to normalcy for Baylor’s Model UN team.

“Last year, there were no in-person conferences, only virtual conferences,” Flavin said. “This year, we have had two in-person conferences and one virtual conference.”

Despite facing difficulties with the pandemic, the team faced the NMUN-NY conference in stride, showing its ability to remain in character, take part in discussion and use the rules of the procedure according to NMUN-NY’s awards criteria.

What made this year’s event one to remember, Flavin said, was the team’s ability to finally visit the UN General Assembly at the conclusion of the NMUN-NY conference, after the building had been closed in response to COVID-19.

“Because of COVID, the hall is still closed to visitors,” Flavin said. “However, we were able to take a private tour. While they did not get to sit in chairs and press buttons, they were still able to tour the UN and get a behind-the-scenes tour. And that is what makes this conference truly special.”