UWI students excel at Harvard Model UN

 Joneille Johnson, left, Dr Ryan Abraham and Terriann Baker, delegates from The UWI St Augustine campus Institute of International Relations, celebrate after winning commendations in the 2020 Harvard National Model United Nations. -
Joneille Johnson, left, Dr Ryan Abraham and Terriann Baker, delegates from The UWI St Augustine campus Institute of International Relations, celebrate after winning commendations in the 2020 Harvard National Model United Nations. -

Two students from The UWI St Augustine campus have once again won commendations in the extremely competitive 2020 Harvard National Model United Nations (HNMUN).

Delegates from the Institute of International Relations (IIR) also won commendations in the 2019 HNMUN, standing out among those from some 60 countries, among them the highest-ranked universities in the world.

Joneille Johnson, one of the three delegates, received diplomatic commendation for representing the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic in the African Union. Johnson, an IIR graduate student, described the experience as "staggering,” in a media release. She said the experience at the HNMUN, held from February 13-16 at the historic Park Plaza Hotel in Boston, made her “incredibly proud.”

Her fellow delegates, Dr Ryan Abraham and Terriann Baker, received diplomatic commendation for representing India in the World Health Organization (WHO) as a double delegate.

Speaking about her experience Baker said: “I feel so many emotions even now as I reflect. This is my second time winning an award in a co-delegation and the first ever two-time awardee. I am over the moon. I hope that I can transfer my knowledge and hopefully become one of the trainers in the future.”

Baker was one of four IIR students who took part in the 2019 HNMUN, and with her partner at that time, Tonicia Williams, won Outstanding Delegates. Competing against students from Harvard, Yale, Oxford and winning even once would be an amazing accomplishment, the release said. Baker specifically and UWI St Augustine’s IIR have now done so twice.

A model UN gives students the opportunity to “role play” the life of a diplomat engaged in arguing for a resolution at the world’s highest international body. The goal is to be part of the crafting of the winning resolution, which requires great research, public speaking and the ability to form alliances with other delegates. HNMUN, which just completed its 66th session in 2020, is recognised as the longest running and one of the largest college-level model UNs in the world.

Addressing the IIR team's performance, faculty advisor Dr Georgina Chami cited training and experience as being responsible for its success.

“First, the intense training and preparations organised and executed for delegates. Second, the training team involved in the preparations all of whom are former delegates: Brandon Rampersad (former head delegate, Mona Campus), Nestor Garcia [who won diplomatic commendation in 2019], Usha Lakhan and Andel Andrew (St Augustine). This has allowed the team to gain first-hand insights and knowledge of the competition.”

Chami also credited the delegates for their effort. “The students must be commended for their determination, dedication and drive to succeed and excel at HNMUN.”

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