Cedarville University participated in the National Model UN Conference sponsored by the United Nations in New York City. Students earned a third-place overall award, and four of the 12 team members brought home “Outstanding Delegate” honors, which are given by peers. Photo courtesy of Dr. Frank Jenista.
by Public Relations Office—Cedarville, Ohio
April 27, 2009
Cedarville, Ohio—Many students start their involvement on Model United Nations teams in high school and continue on into college. Their competitions mainly consist of small local events at nearby auditoriums. But the truly exceptional collegiate teams take it to a whole new level and participate in the National Model UN Conference sponsored by the United Nations in New York City, where international students from 29 countries comprise nearly one-third of the delegates.
This year, the Cedarville University Model UN team received just such an honor. With some 2,500 students from 189 universities on five continents participating, the Cedarville students earned a third-place overall award, and four of the 12 team members brought home “Outstanding Delegate” honors, which are given by peers. Cedarville’s 2009 “Outstanding Delegates” are Kyle Cayton, Melissa Martin, Jerica Ward, and Katrina Whitecavage.
As for the overall team awards, they are chosen by the National Model UN staff who identify consistently strong performances by all team members. These teams must represent their assigned country as accurately and realistically as possible in simulated United Nations negotiations. In essence, they become foreign diplomats. This requires extensive preparation in order to understand complex policy positions on a wide variety of international issues. Delegates are expected to stay in character, leave behind their own cultural and national backgrounds, and behave in all ways as a UN delegate from another country.
Cedarville’s team represented Bolivia on 10 different UN committees. Besides co-captains Kyle Cayton and Clara Gebert, the 2009 team members were Leanna Baumer, Darrin Carrier, Kate Cella, John Cooper, Michael Gaynier, Melissa Martin, Katie McGee, Rachel Ross, Jerica Ward, and Katrina Whitecavage. The team’s faculty advisor is Dr. Frank Jenista, professor of international studies and a 25-year American diplomat.
Cayton, an international studies senior, is relatively new to Model UN competitions. “While it is imperative that you understand the specific foreign policies of the country you’re representing,” he says, “it is equally important to communicate well in negotiation. My formal and informal educational experiences at Cedarville helped me prepare for this. We had the capacity to tangibly love people by intentionally listening to their ideas and by taking the time to get to know them beyond the policies of the country they were representing.”
For Gebert, getting to spend a day in the United Nations building was a definite highlight. “This was not only a valuable educational experience,” says the international studies junior, “but it also broadened my understanding of our world and the great influencing factors that shape it. I had a chance to see where history was made.”
Learn More: History and Government at Cedarville University