UM Model United Nations ranked 14th in the country

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While many UMiami students are focused on the basketball team’s recent rise to the top, another team on campus dominates their competition.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the UM Model United Nations (MUN) team was ranked 19th in the country, now the team has climbed up to 14th in the country. Their improved ranking comes after their success at their last conference at Boston University, the first in-person conference since the pandemic.

The MUN team celebrates the end of training on Friday, March 25, 2022. Photo credit: Alex Terr

“It felt so good to win and finally go to a conference,” said Amir Mahmoud, a political science and journalism student who has been a member of MUN since his freshman year. “There were some organizational issues but it was still amazing.”

Model UN is an organization where the delegates of each team represent certain countries and exchange ideas to find solutions to the problems posed.

Team rankings are determined by the rewards each team earns in their MUN conferences.

Conferences consist of members being assigned a delegate of a nation to the United Nations, learning its history and acting diplomatically in resolving a conflict where rewards are won by ensuring that their ideas are at the center of discussions during conversations with other members.

For each prize won, they receive a point which goes into their ranking.

“Funding is always an issue for us,” Mahmoud said. “We can’t attend every conference like other schools go, which makes our ranking even more special.”

One of the keys to success is consistent practice that happens weekly. An activity they do at practice, called telephoning, helps members think critically and retain information in a short amount of time, a skill needed to be in MUN.

“The game is about trying to explain information on the spot,” said MUN co-chair Juliette Van Heerden, a microbiology and immunology student. “It helps us in lectures to explain a lot of information in a short time.”

This intense practice leads them to anticipate success in their future lectures this semester. Co-chairman Ishaan Chatterjee, a senior microbiology and immunology student, has big ambitions for the rest of the season.

“We want to be in the top ten by the end of the year.” Chatterjee said. “That would be the best way out.”

Heerden attributed the team’s success to its camaraderie compared to others across the country. Apart from practices, they organize team dinners to create better chemistry.

“When we go to conferences, other schools see us and are shocked at how close we are,” Heerden said. “They know when Miami shows up.”


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