Once again, William & Mary’s International Relations Club has proven itself to be a powerhouse among international Model United Nations teams.
At the Harvard University-sponsored World Model U.N. (WorldMUN) Conference held March 14-18 in Singapore, 11 out of 14 William & Mary delegates took home diplomacy awards -- a number only surpassed by only one other delegation.
Model U.N. conferences offer high school and college students the chance to participate simulations involving the various bodies of the U.N. and other international governmental organizations such as the International Monetary Fund and the G-20. Through active participation in these simulations, participants learn how the U.N.’s daily resolutions and procedures have an impact on the world as a whole.
“The collegiate level is much like the high school conferences except that the people in the committee will actually be studying the topic at hand,” said Kedar Pavgi ’11, president of W&M’s International Relations (IR) Club. “For example, in an economic and finance committee at one conference, nearly everyone in there was an economics, finance or business major.”
William & Mary has been taking part in WorldMUN since 1998 and won the “outstanding delegation” award between the years of 2003-2006. Every year, the conference draws collegiate delegations from around the world, including locales such as Belgium and China. This year, only about 20 percent of the delegations were from North America, while many were from Asia or Europe.
This year, William & Mary was assigned to represent New Zealand at the WorldMUN conference. Sam Schreck, vice president of IR Club and head delegate of the W&M delegation, said that a lot of research and preparation was necessary to look at New Zealand’s foreign policy, economics, and social factors as they related to each committee.
“Given that we represented New Zealand, I am extremely proud of the work done by the delegates on the W&M WorldMUN team,” said Schreck. “But, as I told our club meeting last night, credit for the success goes to the entire W&M IR Club. Through their work on the conferences that we hold here, their help in research and speech preparation, as well as their moral support, every member of the IR Club should consider him or herself part of this top-notch WorldMUN team.”
The William & Mary delegation also received much praise for their work at the recent WorldMUN conference. According to Kevin Felix Chan, blogger for the internationally renowned Model U.N. resource site bestdelegate.com, the College’s standing as a Model U.N. powerhouse can be seen by the prestigious awards it receives annually.
“The William & Mary Model U.N. team consistently wins awards at the most competitive conferences in the world,” said Chan. “The team performs exceptionally well outside the United States, so it comes as no surprise that the team was again in contention for a delegation award as one of the best teams at the Harvard WorldMUN Conference.”
But in the end, as Pavgi explains, for the W&M student, it’s not the hours of preparation or the number of awards that are important, but rather the life skills that a delegate learns.
“My favorite thing about Model UN is that it forces you to understand the many facets of international diplomacy in a setting that is both academic and practical,” Pavgi said. “From my WorldMUN experience, I can now relate to people from many countries just from the meals I’ve had and the discussions/debates on issues.”