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BYU Model UN dominates national competition for 9th consecutive year

Details — and pizza — available at slideshow April 17

Brigham Young University’s nationally ranked Model United Nations program returned with two Outstanding Delegation awards and also won a bevy of Position Paper and individual committee awards from the National Model United Nations conference in New York City at UN Headquarters and the Marriott Marquis.

Those interested in learning more about the popular BYU program are invited to stop by for New York-style pizza and the New York slideshow Tuesday, April 17, at 6 p.m. in the David M. Kennedy Center for International Studies Conference Room, 238 Herald R. Clark Building.

This year's competition featured more than 5,000 participants from universities in 44 countries. BYU's delegation represented the Russian Federation and the Republic of Burundi.

“I enjoyed watching the team chemistry and preparation evolve throughout year,” said Thomas Nance, a senior graduating in Middle East studies and Arabic who returned to the competition for the third time as head delegate. “Students learned and experienced the process of diplomacy, ultimately competing at the highest level.”
Going into the competition with an eight-year winning legacy, BYU’s MUN team aimed to win individual Position Paper awards in addition to delegation awards. A position paper is a tightly-written and focused policy document written to delineate a country’s position on specific topics.
The team submitted 21 papers, one for each committee and written from the perspective of both Russia and Burundi. On the last day of formal session, the BYU team learned that ten of their 21 papers won awards — something that had never been done before.

“During the semester students spent a significant amount of time researching academic and policy journal articles and sharing them on a course blog,” said Matt Brigham, a senior studying international relations who was the teaching assistant responsible for editing and mentoring BYU's delegates.
Others found the focus on current global issues to be a great learning experience.

“The conference this year proved to be a unique opportunity for me to interact with hundreds of student leaders from around the world while simultaneously thinking critically and finding solutions,” said Jenny Christensen, a junior studying business management.
Christensen worked with students to help them obtain financial support for participation. Scholarships were provided by the College of Humanities, the David M. Kennedy Center and generous alumni and friends.
“The competition emphasized coalition building, consensus and leadership, as well as the ability to effectively work with a diverse group of people,” said Jordan Harvey, a junior studying political science. "There is nothing else like this on campus."
Drew Ludlow, event coordinator at the David M. Kennedy Center, served as the Secretary-General for the volunteer staff of more than 100 young professionals at NMUN this year — presiding at the closing ceremonies in the UN General Assembly Hall.
Students also participated in the annual Sunday evening fireside, which featured Richard Bushman, noted historian and author of “Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling.” Bushman welcomed BYU students to New York, calling it a "Mormon City," and spoke about Joseph Smith and politics.
Each year students participate in the fall semester class (IAS 351) and apply for the winter semester program via a competitive process. BYU Model UN is open to all full-time students. Learn more at

Writer: Skjelse Smith


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