MURRAY, Ky. — The Murray State University Model United Nations team brought home two honorable mention awards at the Midwest Model United Nations competition held Feb. 21-23 in St. Louis.

Elizabeth Erwin from Crestwood, Kentucky, and Leah Feldhaus from Almo, Kentucky, both won honorable mention awards for the General Assembly Fourth Committee.

“I am really grateful to have had the opportunity to participate in Model United Nations this year, Feldhaus said. “I’m glad I could represent Murray State and bring back this award.”

Dr. Choong-Nam Kang, chair of the Murray State Department of Political Science and Sociology and advisor for Model United Nations, said the conference is quite competitive.

“The Midwest Model UN Conference is one of the largest model UN conferences; on average, about 40-50 schools participate,” said Kang. “Our students competed with over 70 delegations in each GA subcommittee (of the UN General Assembly).”

Judging takes place over the course of the conferences. According to Kang, judges evaluate how well the delegates understand the rules, procedures and how effectively they work with other countries. They also look at how well students understand the issue before their committee, negotiation strategies and their ability to find a resolution for the issue at hand.

Model United Nations is a three-day simulation, where students represent countries in the UN, displaying their knowledge and skills.

“The overall goal of this conference is to work cooperatively with other students to come up with intuitive solutions to present-day world problems,” said Feldhaus. “By attending this conference, I got the opportunity to enhance my collaboration and leadership skills, in conjunction with my problem-solving and critical thinking skills.”

This year, the Murray State Model United Nations team represented Spain. Students have been preparing since the fall semester and even worked during winter break.

“The preparation for this conference was pretty extensive.” said Feldhaus. “We began in August and conducted intensive personal research, both on the country we were representing and on the committee that each of us elected to participate in. We each had a research paper that we wrote over winter break and we attended class every week with assignments that focused on different aspects of our research. Additionally, we each prepared speeches and developed proposals that we would later use in the conference.”

Model United Nations is a great example of experiential education at Murray State. Students have the option of participating as a member of a club or receiving course credit.

“Model UN is the best example of experiential learning,” Kang said. “Model UN provides students with a valuable opportunity to learn about the UN, important global issues, skills of debate, compromise, conflict resolution and negotiations by simulating diplomacy and using real world examples.”

The team has a proven track record. This is the fourth consecutive year that the Model United Nations team has brought home an award since its inception in 2014.

“It could be nothing for some schools who sent big groups of students — like 20 to 30 — but for a very small group of delegation like us, usually 7-10 students, it is a very impressive achievement,” Kang said. “I’m so proud of our students.”

In addition to Feldhaus and Erwin, other team members include:

  • Laurie Abbott (La Grange, Kentucky)
  • Daniel Craig (Louisville, Kentucky)
  • Allison Grzywacz (Lexington, Kentucky)
  • Madison Hillberry (Elizabethtown, Kentucky)
  • Jasmine Neal (St. John, Missouri)
  • Danielle Tebib (La Grange, Kentucky)

Photo: The Murray State University Model United Nations team brought home two honorable mention awards at the Midwest Model United Nations competition held Feb. 21-23 in St. Louis.

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