The Charger Blog

University’s Model United Nations Team Excels in Virtual Conference

The University of New Haven’s National Model United Nations team recently competed in the virtual New York Model United Nations conference, winning several awards while building valuable skills and confidence.

April 16, 2021

By Cassandra Paez ’24, Joshua Cheatham ’24, and Vidushi Jha ’24

University's Model United Nations Team
The University’s National Model United Nations team recently competed in the virtual New York Model United Nations conference.

The University of New Haven’s Model United Nations team represented Sierra Leone and the United Arab Emirates in the virtual New York Conference (NMUN•NY 2021), winning two Outstanding Delegation team awards, five Outstanding Delegate awards, and three Outstanding Position Paper awards. The program, which has a long history of success taking part in national and international conferences, included more than two dozen committee delegates, including 19 students who were taking part in Model United Nations (MUN) for the first time and 14 first-year students.

Cassandra Paez ’24.
Cassandra Paez ’24.
Cassandra Paez ’24

Model United Nations is an amazing program. After immersing myself in many leadership positions throughout numerous intense simulations, I have found my calling. With very little public speaking experience and little knowledge of the world, I joined MUN to broaden my horizons.

I am very grateful to Professor Chris Haynes, director of the University’s MUN program, and the head delegates for coaching me through each simulation and providing us with helpful feedback, constant support, and professional training. Because of MUN, I believe I will be able to excel at every other aspect of school and outside life. MUN gives students a new type of confidence – a confidence that comes later on in life for many people.

My first conference taught me something new about the world, and myself. I learned how to stand, speak, interact with others, delegate, deliberate, lead, write, read, and research properly, and I developed so many other talents I would never have learned without MUN. When I look back at my time at the University, I am confident MUN will always stand out as my greatest achievement and the most fun experience I had.

Joshua Cheatham ’24.
Joshua Cheatham ’24.
Joshua Cheatham ’24

As a first-year student, I have had a lot of different things going through my mind. I have done a lot of thinking about my career and how I might get there, making new friends, and figuring out classes, and it all just seemed overwhelming at times. But when I first talked to Dr. Haynes about Model United Nations, I knew I at least had some direction. MUN is an incredible program. We go through training on public speaking, thinking on our feet, doing research, and networking, all geared towards crushing it during conference week.

But the great part about this is that we gain life experience. All of those skills can be translated to the real world. The interpersonal skills, networking, researching, and being a “first mover” are all transferrable, and the best part is we have an incredible team to help us. Dr. Haynes and the head delegates push us to do our best and get outside of our comfort zone. They are always ready to answer any questions at almost any hour, willing to work with me outside the classroom, and take a lot of time to make sure that every student is successful. They have done an incredible job at pushing all of the students in MUN this semester to become stronger, more confident individuals. The crazy thing is that almost all of us were not just first-time delegates, but also first-year students! The Outstanding Delegation award for both of our teams sure felt good.

As a first-time delegate, I have seen drastic change in myself. I went from being a quiet, shy first-year student, to a strong and confident critical thinker. The skills I have taken away from just my first semester in MUN have helped me grow not just as a person, but as a professional. I have seen great strides in myself, and the best part is that I am just getting started. My goal is to keep doing MUN so that I can keep practicing these skills and perfect them. It is important to realize that you do not get everything out of MUN in the first semester. Even though I have grown, I know that there is still a long way to go. That is why I am excited to push myself even further next semester.

MUN is important. It helps you grow as a person and as a professional. It is a fun and joyous experience, even though it can be challenging at times. It also teaches us how the United Nations works, how the world’s problems can be solved, and how countries can build or destroy strong relationships. It is definitely an important experience because it is not just a class. MUN provides a way to meet new people, gain your confidence, and push you to become a more well-rounded professional. And it is something that is just incredibly fun.

Vidushi Jha ’24
Vidushi Jha ’24.
Vidushi Jha ’24.

Participating in the Model UN program this semester has allowed me to grow so much as an individual. Before starting MUN, I did not have the confidence to put myself out there and take risks. I used to get so nervous speaking in front of crowds because I was scared of other people’s opinions, but this program has taught me that nothing really bad can happen from taking risks and speaking my mind. That lesson has liberated me and allowed me to become so much more confident in my voice and my opinions.

The lessons from MUN have not just helped me in this course, but they have been reflected in my other courses and in my personal life. I am no longer as afraid to speak up in class or tell someone how I feel. Before this course, I was quiet and reserved. While I still am in some ways, I have been able to break out my shell and it has been an invaluable experience for me.

Cassandra Paez ’24 is a business analytics major at the University of New Haven. Joshua Cheatham ’24, an international affairs major, received the Outstanding Delegate and Position Paper Awards. Vidushi Jha ’24, who is studying national security at the University, received the Outstanding Delegate Award.