UM Model United Nations ranked 14th in the country

While many UMiami students are focused on the basketball team’s recent climb to the top, another team on campus is dominating their competition.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the UM Model United Nations (MUN) team was ranked 19th in the nation, now the team has climbed all the way to 14th in the country. Their improved ranking comes after their success at their latest conference at Boston University, the first in-person conference since the pandemic.

MUN Team celebrating the end of practice on Friday, March 25th, 2022.
MUN Team celebrating the end of practice on Friday, March 25th, 2022. Photo credit: Alex Terr

“It was so good to win and finally go to a conference,” said Amir Mahmoud, a senior political science and journalism major who has been a member of MUN since his freshman year. “There were some issues organizationally but it still was amazing.”

Model UN is an organization where delegates from each team represent certain countries and exchange ideas to come up with solutions to problems being prompted.

A teams ranking is determined by the awards that each team garners at their MUN conferences.

The conferences consist of members being assigned a delegate of a nation in the actual United Nations, learning its history and acting diplomatically through solving a conflict where awards are won by ensuring that their ideas are the focal point of discussion during conversations with other members.

For each award won, they receive a point that goes into their ranking.

“Funding is still an issue for us,” Mahmoud said. “We can’t go to every conference like other schools go to which makes our ranking even more special.”

One of the keys to success is the constant practice that occurs weekly. One activity that they do at practice, called telephone, helps members think critically and retain information in a quick period of time, a necessary skill to be in MUN.

“The game revolves around trying to explain information on the spot,” said MUN Co-President Juliette Van Heerden, a senior studying microbiology and immunology. “It helps us in conferences in order to explain a lot of information in a short period of time.”

This intense practice is leading to them anticipating success at their future conferences this semester. Co-President Ishaan Chatterjee, a senior studying microbiology and immunology has high ambitions for the rest of the season.

“We want to be top ten by the end of the year.” Chatterjee said. “It would be the best way to go out.”

Heerden has attributed the team’s success due to their comradery compared to others across the country. Besides practices, they have team dinners to create better chemistry.

“When we go to conferences other schools see us and are shocked about how close we are,” Heerden said. “They know when Miami shows up.”