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Monmouth Model UN Team Competes at Oxford University, Brings Home Individual Speaker Awards

Four members of the University’s Model United Nations team—Kristen Gomez, Nick Boice, Payton Collander and Mackenzie Ricca—won individual speaking awards at the Oxford International Model UN (OxIMUN) contest hosted by Oxford University in London Oct. 25-27. Gomez received a Best Delegate award for her work with the International Press Corps Committee, North America; Boice received a High Commendation for his work representing Somalia with the UN Development Program; Collander received an Honorable Mention for representing Egypt in the African Union; and Ricca received an Honorable Mention as judge in the International Criminal Court.

In addition to the award winners, Monmouth students Matt Gruhler, Nick Gibson, Paula Echeverria, Alexis Vasquez, and Dan Gerdon joined representatives from universities in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia at the three-day competition, which is considered one of Europe’s premier annual Model UN conferences. Oxford, Cambridge, and the London School of Economics were among other universities competing.

The OxIMUN contest follows the procedural rules of the actual United Nations, with students representing a country and serving on a committee. Committees consisting of 20-30 students were given two problems with the objective of addressing the issues through debating, writing and passing policy resolutions by committee. Committees cover topics ranging from climate change, economic development, and food security to sex trafficking, border disputes, education, refugee crises, and more.

Students debate from the perspective of their assigned country and win committees when their resolutions are passed and accepted by their committee chair. Three individual speaker awards are given to each committee, including overall Best Delegate.

Monmouth alumni and former Model UN team members James Hawk ’18 and Emma O’Rourke ’19, both graduate students at the London School of Economics, as well as Liam Coffey ’18 and Jackson Pope ’19, graduate students at King’s College London, were also in attendance to mentor current students.

“These alumni were instrumental in terms of building this program,” said Ken Mitchell, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Political Science and Sociology and advisor to the team. “Their current successes as graduate students in international affairs at prestigious international universities is Monmouth University at its best.”

According to Mitchell, Monmouth has competed in U.K. contests for five straight semesters, winning speaker awards consistently and establishing Monmouth as a “powerhouse on the European circuit.” The Monmouth team practices on campus every Friday afternoon in the Center for Transformative Citizenship located in Bey Hall 226. Mitchell added that participation in Model UN develops skills such as critical thinking, policy writing and research, and group negotiating.

The OxIMUN trip was made possible due to financial support from the Leon Hess Business School, the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, the Department of Political Science and Sociology, and the Student Government Association at Monmouth University.

Monmouth students will next compete Nov. 8-10 at the National Model UN conference in Washington, D.C. During the spring semester, Monmouth will send teams to Harvard University (Feb. 13-16); Kings College London (Feb. 21-23); and the Southern Regional Model United Nations (SRMUN) conference in Charlotte, North Carolina (March 26-28).

Model UN at Monmouth University is open to all undergraduate students. Approximately 45 students are currently active in the team/club. Students interested in joining for next semester should contact Professor Mitchell via email at kmitchel@monmouth.edu or Professor Kevin Dooley, Ph.D., via email at kdooley@monmouth.edu.

Additional information is available on the Department of Political Science and Sociology’s website.