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Model United Nations Team Wins Awards at National Contest

Monmouth University’s Model United Nations team competed at the National Model United Nations contest in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 5-7. Captains Sarah Reutti, Sabria Smith, and Gabriella Griffo led Monmouth’s team of 21 students. Fifty-four universities from across the United States and abroad competed in the competition, which involves student delegations representing specific countries on specific committees/organizations of the United Nations. Large universities send as many as 60 students and represent 10 separate countries; smaller universities can represent a single country. Monmouth represented four countries–Kazakhstan, Zimbabwe, Venezuela and Ghana. Ken Mitchell, Ph.D., professor of political science, travelled with the group as the faculty advisor. 

According to Mitchell, Nick Yalch and Catherine Melman-Kenny turned in especially strong individual performances over the three-day, nonstop contest. “Both utilized their skills in critical thinking, policy writing, public speaking, group negotiation, and, perhaps most important, ‘the ability to win the room’ to slowly and relentlessly move their committees in their favor–and both partnered with and mentored first-time Model UN students,” Mitchell said. 

Delegation awards—or team awards—are handed out at the end of each Model UN contest, and reflect the performance of all students on a country delegation. Monmouth’s Kazakhstan Delegation earned top honors for “Outstanding Delegation,” and included Yalch, Oliver Gaines, Joseph Myers, Emily Pustam, Caroline Boyle, Nicole Desilva, Tom Rosta, and Eric Appelbaum. Mitchell said that with the exception of one student, the Kazakhstan Delegation was comprised of first-time Model UN participants, all of whom delivered an incredible performance.

Monmouth’s Zimbabwe Delegation earned an Honorable Mention Award (third place), with another strong group performance from students Eric Machnicki, Richard Pitts, Claire Gaston, Sarah Anderson, Emily Rabbitt, and Maura Foley. Mitchell noted that this team, other than one student, also consisted of first-time participants. “To walk into a committee room with 100+ university students all competing for the same outcome, delivering speeches, negotiating policy proposals, as first-time Model UN performers is fantastic,” Mitchell said. 

Mitchell also noted a very strong performance from Melman-Kenny and Rachel Tramontana, who represented Ghana on the UN Women’s Committee. “Had they been part of a larger student delegation, there is little doubt they would have earned a top delegation award,” he said. According to Mitchell, Melman-Kenny is a seasoned veteran of Model UN contests, and with her mentorship, Tramontana, a natural public speaker, delivered memorial speeches that moved the room.

Monmouth’s Venezuela Delegation, represented by Sarah Reutti, Sabria Smith, Angel Valerio, and Alex Mykuly, also battled to the end and put in strong performances, said Mitchell.

Monmouth’s Model UN Club and team are open to all undergraduates. Regular Wednesday meetings help students prepare and build team culture. All students are welcome and there is no experience needed; the only prerequisites are an interest in global affairs and networking with other University students from around the country and world. Next semester, Monmouth will participate at the Harvard Model UN contest (Feb 10-13). Interested students should reach out to Faculty Advisor Kenneth Mitchell (kmitchel@monmouth.edu) or Student Captains Reutti, Smith, or Griffo.

Students win multiple awards at Model UN Contest