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HPU Model United Nations team successful at second Münster conference

By Emily Peisker, HPU senior

BROWNWOOD – May 2, 2016 – The Howard Payne University Model United Nations team took home seven awards from the Münster University International Model United Nations conference held recently in Münster, Germany. The largest MUN conference in Germany, it sponsored delegates from around the world including delegations from Pakistan, Taiwan and Israel.

MUN Munster Spring 2016MUN takes current world issues and asks students, who represent the different countries as delegates, to try to solve them through diplomatic means. Students learn the art of diplomacy through caucusing, writing position papers and presenting in formal settings, all while following the model of the United Nations.

Those receiving awards included James Abbatiello, a junior from Kerrville, with the Outstanding Delegate award for his representation of the Russian Federation on the Security Council; Jaclyn Bonner, a junior from Lytle, with an Honorable Mention award and a Best Position Paper award as the Russian Federation for the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR); Joel Justice, a sophomore from Brownwood, with an Honorable Mention award for representing Lebanon on the UNHCR; Sydney Spencer, a junior from Georgetown, with an Honorable Mention award from the Human Rights Council (HRC) for her representation of the Russian Federation; Braxton Clark, a junior from Southlake, with the Outstanding Delegate Award while portraying Syria for the Disarmament and International Security Committee (DISEC); and Cody Perrin, a junior from Eastland, with an Honorable Mention award for the Peace of Westphalia Committee for his portrayal of the Swedish Empire.

Other team members include Mike McConnell, a senior from Burleson and head delegate of the MUN team, who represented France on the Security Council, and Jason Murphy, a senior from Brownwood, who portrayed Indonesia on the General Assembly Second Committee: Economic and Finance (ECOFIN). Gavin Stewart, a senior from Flower Mound, portrayed the Spanish Empire on the Peace of Westphalia Committee, while Emily Peisker, a senior from Cedar Park, represented the Philippines on the UN Women committee. Also on ECOFIN, Rachel White, a junior from Arkadelphia, Arkansas, represented Germany, while Emma Reed, a freshman from Arlington, portrayed China on HRC. Vivian Nguyen, a sophomore from Keller, represented Thailand on UN Women and Augusta Johnson, a sophomore from Gatesville, represented the Republic of Korea on DISEC. Bringing their pre-law experience into play, Caitlin Wood, a senior from Miles, acted as a judge on the International Criminal Court (ICC) while J Bailey, a senior from Gunter, presented the prosecution on the same committee.

“I am so proud of the entire team,” said Sydney Spencer, co-head delegate of the team. “From what I was able to witness, everyone accurately portrayed their country assignments and represented HPU to the best of their abilities.”

According to Spencer, the team members worked diligently in class and on their own time to fully understand the governmental systems of the countries represented. This was the team’s second time to compete in Münster.

“Yet again, we brought home more awards than any other delegation and this is only due to each individual person’s commitment to research, ability to take constructive criticism and comprehension of how to understand the rules of procedure quickly,” she said.

After landing in Berlin on Easter Sunday, the group took the day to explore the city and see historical sites, which included the Brandenburg Gate, the Holocaust Memorial and Checkpoint Charlie. Team members also visited the Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp in Oranienburg on the outskirts of Berlin the next day and immersed themselves in the history of that area.

HPU’s Model United Nations team is led by Dr. Kevin Kelley, assistant professor of organizational psychology, and Lorianna Kelley, assistant professor of government.

“Eighteen hours of travel led the victorious HPU MUN team back to Brownwood,” said Dr. Kelley. “Though tired and jetlagged, the belief that peace can be had through non-violent means, a tenet of Christian philosophy, proved powerful yet again to the team. Though some did not win, experience in formal speech, participation in an international conference and exploring the culture of a foreign country was gained by all. Congratulations to our winners and a hearty thanks to all participants who made HPU’s MUN trip a success.”


Cutline: HPU award winners at the Model United Nations conference in Münster, Germany, included (from left) James Abbatiello, Braxton Clark, Jaclyn Bonner, Sydney Spencer, Joel Justice and Cody Perrin.