Students receive two top awards for the first time
On March 26 in the General Assembly Hall of the United Nations, Brigham Young University's Model United Nations delegation reached a new level, receiving "outstanding" delegation awards for both teams-the first time for BYU and rare among all 200 participating universities.
"This ranking places BYU among the top five or so universities at the largest Model UN conference in the world," said Ana Loso, professor of Portuguese and a faculty adviser to the MUN teams. Loso is also a former MUN competitor.
The 40-person delegation, comprised of BYU students from such diverse majors as electrical engineering and English, with a core of international relations majors, savored the victory.
"We went in knowing that last year's team received the first 'outstanding' award since 2000, and we had to perform at a very high level just to get that far," explained Angela Merriam, an economics major and teaching assistant for the course.
William O. Perry, Jr., an attorney and adviser, noted that BYU students worked hard to master the nuances of international law and policy, as well as the requisite skills.
"For two semesters we taught a group of students with limited knowledge about international organizations and how to effectively represent their assigned policies," said Perry. "The competition is a challenging 'final exam' because if they haven't mastered the material and don't stand out as leaders, they lose."
Josh Buddinger, an MUN student representing the nongovernmental organization OXFAM on the Commission of Sustainable Development, said, "I was a little nervous about being on a committee of more than 400 delegates, but just tried to use the understanding we learned in class about how diplomacy works. My partner and I worked off of our individual strengths to split the daunting load of such a big committee."
Students don't just learn about international diplomacy at the conference. They take advantage of being in New York City, a vibrant and diverse city with a growing population of members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, including a newly dedicated temple.
For example, on their first Sunday in the city, students held a fireside with Elder Ralph and Sister Sharon Larsen, church service missionaries at the LDS New York Public and International Affairs Office where they learned about the Church's interactions with the UN and diplomats from 192 countries.
Any BYU student can become part of the Model UN program by registering for IAS 351R: Model United Nations, a 3.0 credit hour course offered through evening classes at the David M. Kennedy Center for International Studies.
For more information, contact BYU Model UN at (801) 422-6921 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or see the web site at mun.byu.edu.