USF’s Model United Nations club (USFMUN) returned from Boston University’s four-day Model UN conference, which took place from Oct. 3-6, with success and a hopeful vision for its future. For the first time in its six-year history, the club took home awards for delegate achievement. Lauren Giddings, a freshman politics major, earned an Honorable Mention, and Ravi Chailertborisuth, a sophomore international studies major, received a Verbal Commendation (meaning that while he did not receive a certificate, he was verbally recognized for his performance).
Delegates, as MUN conference participants are called, who distinguish themselves in debate and committee interactions are chosen by their committee chairs to receive awards. Giddings was awarded the Honorable Mention in recognition of her extensive research, having written about 15 pages of a 20-page resolution for her committee, which eventually passed. Chailertborisuth earned his Commendation by portraying UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson for the weekend.
USFMUN is an on-campus organization whose members debate current world issues by mimicking the UN committee structure at conferences, which can range from a day to a whole week and are hosted by various universities around the country. MUN committees operate with a varying number of delegates, who research country or individual policies and each work to assert possible solutions to global situations during the debates. At the end of each conference, delegates who have been noted for their excellent performances are given a Commendation, Honorable Mention, Outstanding, or Best Delegate award. USFMUN participates in two conferences per semester, one on the East Coast and another in California.
USFMUN meets once a week for two hours, during which members are able to practice their debating skills and conduct research on various policies, which they later compile into binders. The meetings provide a space for members to improve their public speaking and allows the executive board to assess their progress. While the club has no expectations for how much research each member should conduct, Gidding attributes her success in earning an Honorable Mention at the BU conference to going above and beyond in her preparation.
USFMUN President John Iosefo, a junior politics major, says despite the challenge, he’s involved in MUN because “I’m a bit of a nerd. It’s fun to dig into research and policy in a way that’s engaging.” During the BU conference, Iosefo researched and spoke as David Lidington of former British Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit Cabinet.
While the awards may have been a first for USFMUN, they signal growing achievement by the club. Freshmen are taking leadership roles, and the executive board is focusing on building a tight-knit community. “It’s definitely a bonding experience to be at a four-day conference with others. [USFMUN] has given me the opportunity to connect with like-minded students,” freshman Myra Cruz said.
It’s definitely a bonding experience to be at a four-day conference with others. [USFMUN] has given me the opportunity to connect with like-minded students.Myra Cruz
Currently, eight members are preparing for a conference at the University of Southern California. USFMUN currently operates with about 15 active members but hopes to grow large enough to host a conference at home in the future.
Students interested in joining USFMUN can contact the club via Instagram @usfmun.