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HPU students win awards at Stockholm Model United Nations conference

By Emily Peisker, HPU Senior

BROWNWOOD – December 1, 2015 – Five Howard Payne University students won awards at the Stockholm Model United Nations (SMUN) conference on November 15, after a three-day conference with several committees discussing crucial global topics. This was the third time for HPU to attend SMUN, the largest collegiate MUN conference in Scandinavia.

MUN is a simulation of the United Nations, giving students the opportunity to confer and network with peers across the globe, become aware of and involved with international issues and produce potential solutions to contemporary problems.

Gavin Paul Stewart, a senior from Flower Mound, and Jason Murphy, a senior from Brownwood, represented Italy on the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), earning them the best delegation award on their committee. While representing Portugal, Peyton Cooley, a freshman from Lindale, received the best delegate award for the European Council. James Abbatiello, a junior from Kerrville, and Mike McConnell, a senior from Burleson and head delegate of the MUN team, partnered as the People’s Republic of China on the Security Council and earned an honorable mention.

Nine other HPU students researched and portrayed countries at the conference. Sydney Spencer, a junior from Georgetown, and Jaclyn Bonner, a junior from Lytle, represented the United Kingdom on the General Assembly: Disarmament and International Security Committee (DISEC), while Sam Hoffman, a senior from Corpus Christi, and Danielle Parkhurst, a junior from Columbus, portrayed the United Kingdom on ECOSOC. Cody Perrin, a senior from Eastland, represented France on the European Council. Also on DISEC were Emily Peisker, a senior from Cedar Park, and Carrie Leach, a sophomore from Hurst, representing the Kingdom of Cambodia. Leo Baker, a freshman from Lindale, and Emma Reed, a freshman from Arlington, represented the United Kingdom on the UN Conference on Climate Change: Conference of the Parties 21 (COP 21).

The team is directed by Dr. Justin D. Murphy, Brand professor of history, dean of the School of Humanities and director of HPU’s Guy D. Newman Honors Academy.

“I am extremely proud of the Model UN Team,” said Dr. Murphy. “The members worked extremely hard to learn the positions of the countries they represented on the various committees and councils. In fact, one of the SMUN Conference leaders told me that the chairs of the committees and councils were very impressed with how well prepared our delegates were and how accurately they performed their roles.”

The group, including 14 students and three chaperones, left for Stockholm on November 10, arriving in Sweden the next day with time for the students to sightsee and explore the city through November 12. Students took the opportunity to shop in the Old Town, visit the Parliament building, catch up with old friends from previous conferences and immerse in Swedish history at museums.

“It is a blessing to have the opportunity to attend international conferences and learn about foreign relations from the perspective of people from more than 35 different countries,” said Sydney Spencer, co-head delegate of the MUN team. “I am very proud of our team and everything we accomplished and thankful to everyone who played a part in making this trip possible.”

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Photo cutline: HPU’s Model United Nations team recently competed in Stockholm, Sweden. Back row, left to right: Cody Perrin, Jason Murphy, Gavin Paul Stewart, Sam Hoffman, James Abbatiello, Mike McConnell, Leo Baker and Peyton Cooley. Front row, left to right: Emily Peisker, Emma Reed, Carrie Leach, Sydney Spencer, Jaclyn Bonner and Danielle Parkhurst.

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