Imagine you are called to a meeting as a member of the UN Security Council to consider how to address the humanitarian crisis occurring in Yemen. What should take priority? How should countries around the world coordinate the international response?
Seton Hall students debate topics like these and more in real-life simulations facilitated during Model United Nations conferences. The Seton Hall United Nations Association (SHUNA) places students who are passionate about global issues into the shoes of diplomatic international delegates, cultivating important skills such as critical thinking, public speaking, and negotiation. While striving to resolve both historical and modern-day crises from the vantage point of international leaders, this team engages and competes with peers from universities around the world to gain crucial practice in relationship building and the art of diplomacy.
During the recent Pennsylvania State Model UN conference (PUNC XI), SHUNA put on an impressive display of knowledge and collaboration, a contribution to the conference that was recognized by its organizers. In addition to earning a total of eight individual awards and two verbal commendations, the group was also recognized as a unit with the Best Large Delegation award. Among the individual members bringing home Best Delegate honors were Kyla Stewart, Axel Sontegrath, Devin Smith, and Casey Stickel. Caroline Hall received an Outstanding Delegate Award. Adam Faddah and Stephen Hoffman walked away with Honorable Mentions and James Tracey and Joshua Newman were recognized for their performance with verbal condemnations. The team's success at PUNC XI was not just a stroke of good luck; this past fall, SHUNA earned a number of honors at the Cornell University Collegiate Model UN Conference, with three of its delegates bringing home special awards including "Best Delegate" and "Outstanding Delegate."
SHUNA's incredible achievements at PUNC XI illustrate the depth of the team's capabilities, but this isn't their first taste of success at Penn State. At PUNC VIII in 2015, SHUNA received the Outstanding Large Delegation Award, exhibiting a tradition of success for this group. Victoria Blakey-Padilla, president of the organization, reflected on her experience with SHUNA saying, "As a 3-year member and the Current President, I have seen SHUNA transform into an award winning club. Our delegates are known as members of an up and coming delegation that have the ability to outshine even the most competitive teams in the tri-state area. Not only is SHUNA becoming more successful, but I believe all the past improvements from the executive board members have allowed us to recruit better members and train delegates well. I can't wait to come back as an alumna and see that all the hard work the club and I have done has created an amazing foundation for a continually successful Model United Nations team."
SHUNA's conference success is also paying dividends for its national ranking among other collegiate Model UN teams. Best Delegate, the online expert on Model United Nations whose website commands an audience spanning nearly 200 countries, ranked the team in the Top 50 North American College Model UN Teams in the World Division. Teams in the World Division typically focus on the social and competitive aspects of conferences, and tend to participate in crisis-simulation centered activities. Our students' success in the 2017-2018 academic year is likely to positively affect SHUNA'S Best Delegate standing, pushing this motivated team further up the rankings in the year to come. SHUNA advisor, Dean Courtney Smith, also commented on the accomplishments of the team, "The ongoing success of SHUNA reflects the hard work of our students and their dedication to excellence. Their program of training each other has created a strong foundation that supports an impressive track record of awards and recognition. They reflect well on both the School of Diplomacy and Seton Hall more broadly."
SHUNA will continue to compete throughout the remainder of the spring semester, seeking to further the organization's standing among its competitors. The Diplomacy community is excited to cheer on this group as it takes on new challenges and navigates new global issues.
Categories: Nation and World