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Howard Payne University’s Model United Nations teams take honors

Special to the Bulletin
Sierra Ross of Galveston was recognized as a Distinguished Delegate during the virtual Northwest Model United Nations (NWMUN) conference.
Brooke Robbins of Kerrville speaks with team members during the NWMUN conference.
HPU Model United Nations co-head delegate Jacob Lehrer of Midland participates in a video meeting during the NWMUN conference.

Howard Payne University’s Model United Nations teams recently competed in the virtual Northwest Model United Nations (NWMUN) conference and won the First Distinguished Delegation award, the second-place award for overall team performance. First-time delegate Sierra Ross, a senior from Galveston majoring in the Guy D. Newman Honors Academy and social science (jurisprudence), received a Distinguished Delegate award, one of three such awards on a 30-student committee. 

Dr. David Claborn, professor of government and faculty adviser for the Model United Nations team, commented on the team’s excellent performance at the conference.

“Our team placed second, higher than teams from Johns Hopkins University, University of Washington and several state universities from California, Nevada, Montana, British Columbia and more,” said Dr. Claborn. “It just says so much about the team’s preparation and abilities, as well as the mentoring of our head delegates, Madeleine DuPre and Jacob Lehrer, that we had such success with so many seniors graduated and four of our five teammates being new to Model United Nations.”

Model United Nations is a simulation that uses current world issues to allow students to practice problem-solving through diplomatic means. Participants represent various nations as delegates and follow diplomatic procedure, including caucusing, writing position papers and presenting in formal settings, following the model of the United Nations. Conferences represent unique opportunities for learning that supplement traditional class experiences.

“Model United Nations is a prime example of an experiential learning program that grows skills like critical thinking and public speaking while also increasing the participants’ understanding of the legal realm,” said Ross.

HPU’s Model United Nations team is led by co-head delegates DuPre, a senior from Leander majoring in the Honors Academy, psychology and social science (jurisprudence), and Lehrer, a senior from Midland majoring in the Honors Academy and social science (jurisprudence). The team also includes Ross; Brooke Robbins, a sophomore from Kerrville majoring in the Honors Academy and psychology; and Madison Tuck, a freshman from Edgewood, New Mexico, majoring in the Honors Academy and psychology.

The NWMUN conference is typically hosted annually in Seattle, with teams from universities in North America travelling to meet in person. To provide a safer environment for participants, the conference was held online, with teams competing from their respective home institutions. DuPre emphasized that although the format was different, the value of the diplomatic simulation was not lost.

“Model United Nations is a great experience,” she said. “This conference was different from what we had done in the past, but it was still an interesting experience. I am proud of the team for all the work that they did and with everything they accomplished.”