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AU鈥檚 Model UN Team is No. 1鈥擜gain

The team, backed by financial support from SIS, helps students learn about diplomacy and international relations and find community at AU.

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For the third year in a row, 花季传媒直播鈥檚 Model UN (AUMUN) topped the , released last week. AU is only the second school to three-peat.

鈥淥ur rise to one of the most successful teams in the nation is a testament to each team member鈥檚 dedication and love for both this activity and our program,鈥 said head delegate Ellie White, SIS/BA 鈥25.

鈥攚hich draws hundreds of thousands of students each year, from middle school to college鈥攊mmerses participants in diplomacy and international relations by simulating the international governing body headquartered in New York City.

In college, weekend conferences follow two formats: general assembly, where participants are assigned a country or committee, and crisis committees, which require delegates to navigate fictional catastrophes like nuclear war.

Students hone their public speaking, critical thinking, and research skills, which enable them 鈥渢o hit the ground running鈥 after graduation, said SIS dean Shannon Hader. 鈥淢odel UN is not just about great competition, achievement, and performance. The Model UN activities, training, and cultivation help students build professional skills at a level that is truly impressive. It sets them up to walk into their next adventures as leaders who will continue to grow and learn.鈥

AUMUN鈥檚 55 members bested Harvard, Georgetown, Boston University, and the University of Chicago, which round this year鈥檚 top five. AUMUN attended nearly half of all available conferences, racking up more than 100 individual honors and five delegation awards.

AUMUN鈥攑art of the 花季传媒直播 International Relations Society (AMIRS)鈥攈as enjoyed a meteoric rise over the last 10 years. The team emerged from the top 50 in 2014鈥15 to land in the top 25 the following year. AUMUN reached the top five for the first time in 2018鈥19鈥攁nd hasn鈥檛 budged in the six years since.

鈥淏ecause of how successful the team has been in the last three to five years, I do think there are more students coming to AU with the intention of trying out for the AU Model UN team,鈥 said SIS professor Jeff Bachman, director of AMIRS.

Thanks to its national reputation, AUMUN is one of the most competitive student groups to join. Each year, about 180 students try out for about 18 spots.

Students selected after two rounds of interviews are required to attend one conference each semester. Arjun Mishra, CAS/BS 鈥27, SIS/BA 鈥27, said the selection process, while daunting, is worth it.

鈥淩eally, the most grueling part of being on the team is trying out,鈥 said Mishra, who also participated in Model UN during high school in Queens, New York. 鈥淭hat鈥檚 just the hard first step that leads to four years of fun, enjoyment, and travel.鈥

AUMUN has also helped Eagles build community at AU. Students hang out together outside of competitions and Wednesday night practices; they also boast two thriving Facebook Messenger groups, one for current students and another that includes alumni.

鈥淲e definitely are a close-knit community,鈥 said White, who met her closest friends on campus through AUMUN. 鈥淎nd for me, it鈥檚 one of the most special organizations to be a part of on campus鈥攁nd to know there is a whole community of people that have your back.鈥

In part, that community comes from traveling together鈥攁n essential but expensive aspect of Model UN. Additional funding will be critical to the team鈥檚 future success. The School of International Studies Dean鈥檚 Fund has provided significant financial support to AUMUN in recent years to help defray travel costs and decrease the barriers to participation. A number of SIS alumni鈥攊ncluding Loren Danzis, SIS/BA 鈥93, and Nic Valbuena, SIS/BA 鈥23鈥攈ave been inspired to personally contribute, as well.

鈥淚 hope that it鈥檚 relieved a little bit of the financial stress, so that members can focus on the substance of the competition,鈥 Hader said. 鈥淭hey don鈥檛 need to think first, 鈥榃hat is this going to cost?鈥 Instead, they can think, 鈥榃hat can I contribute?鈥欌澨

Mishra said that financial support from SIS and donors has opened a world of opportunity.

鈥淚鈥檝e gotten to travel to places I鈥檝e never been to,鈥 he said. 鈥淚 went to North Carolina last semester and Montreal this semester. It鈥檚 fun to meet people [from] other schools, not just in the US but also from Canada and international students too.鈥

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