CONTACT: David Halbrook
Patrick Henry College
PHC's NMUN Team, photo courtesy of John Ehrett
Patrick Henry College's Model UN Club earned the highest possible team award of "Outstanding Delegation" at the annual National Model United Nations (NMUN) conference in New York City for the fourth year in a row! This is the most advanced and competitive Model UN conference in the nation and the world. Patrick Henry's team represented Slovakia, successfully competing against over 150 other universities from all over the world for one of the top fifteen "Outstanding Delegation" honors. This means that, as a team, PHC placed within the top 10% of all competing universities.
“Year after year, PHC students have excelled in this venue,” said senior John Ehrett, the President of PHC’s club. “Every year, our team members bring different perspectives and skills to the event - and for the past four years, they’ve been hugely successful.”
Sixteen Patrick Henry students traveled to New York for five days from April 13-17, 2014. Team members from Patrick Henry worked together in each of eight different committees to draft treaties and resolutions with other delegates representing almost every member state of the UN with the mission of helping to solve important global problems. In addition, Ehrett was selected as the Chairperson of the Commission on the Status of Women and competed in this leadership role, working with the NMUN staff to provide structure to his committee. Joshua Mechaelsen, the club's Secretary of Logistics, was the Chairperson for the Economic Commission on Latin America and the Caribbean.
“This is truly a way for Christians to demonstrate their willingness to engage on issues of worldwide significance,” Ehrett said. “One of the unique aspects of NMUN is that treating the conference as a ‘competition’ is truly frowned upon: perhaps paradoxically, individual success emerges from one’s ability to build unity and consensus.”
In addition to earning the highest award overall as part of the complete team, one PHC student -sophomore Lanson Hoopai, serving in the UNESCO committee - earned the highest individual committee award for his specific work and leadership over the conference. In addition, Hoopai and Mechaelsen each won the Position Paper awards for their respective committees, demonstrating superior research and analysis in preparation for competition.
“I was extremely honored to receive both awards at our committee’s closing session,” said Hoopai. “I viewed it as a vindication of the work that John Ehrett, Josh Mechaelsen, Stephen Gibbs, and the rest of the team poured into this latecomer onto the team, and I credit them with the victory.”
The rest of the team also performed with excellence. The other team members were Stephen Gibbs (Secretary of Finance), Sydney Roe, Gabrielle Weiss, Royce Gengler, Rebecca Cambron, Nick Ziegenhagen, Lauren Johnson, Jasmin Howells, Preston Lee, Ruan Meintjes, Clayton Millhouse, Caleb Loomis, and Alyssa Mundy.
These successes truly were the culmination of an entire year of hard work from the entire Model UN team. The entire team worked hard to raise thousands of dollars needed (the majority of team members contributed their own personal money, and a number of Model UN alumni also contributed) and to academically prepare for the conference. The PHC NMUN Club's student leadership worked hard to select team members from many applicants to the club, to plan and raise funds for the trip and hotel, and to prepare all team members to excel in their committees through extensive research of their committee topics and participation in simulations of the conference to develop diplomatic strategies.
“Model UN taught me a lot of important lessons that I don't think I could have obtained otherwise,” said Hoopai. “Most notably, it taught me the practical and imminent importance of hard work.”