GU's Model UN Finds Success at Regional & National Conferences


April 10, 2018

Gonzaga’s Model UN delegation finished out the year with an exceptional record, having earned a Distinguished Delegation award at the National Model UN Conference (NMUN) in New York at the end of March on top of the one they had already won at the Northwest Model United Nations (NWMUN) conference in Portland in February.

Model United Nations (MUN, or Model UN) provides an environment for students to better understand diplomacy and international relations, particularly as they relate to the United Nations. Serving as delegates of assigned countries, students debate a range of issues representing today’s pressing issues and gain valuable skills like leadership, critical analysis, public speaking, and recognizing and understanding others’ perspectives.

“Model UN has given me greater confidence in my public speaking, research, negotiation, and critical thinking skills,” says senior Abby Sorlie, Secretary General of this year’s GUMUN. “It has also helped me improve my leadership skills and gain a greater understanding of the practical side of international politics. I’m able to apply all the theoretical concepts I’m learning in my classes in an advanced practical arena at conferences, and I’ve gained an amazing network of close friends and colleagues throughout my four years as a member of this team.”

With 11 new members on the Gonzaga Model UN team of 18, GU is laying a strong foundation for delegations to come. At the NWMUN conference, one veteran and two new delegates won individual awards:

  • Abby Sorlie (’18, International Relations): Outstanding Position Paper representing the United Kingdom in the Security Council
  • Gabby Hanselman (’20, Political Science): Outstanding Position Paper representing Kenya in the Commission on the Status of Women
  • Alexis Legaspi (’18, International Relations): Distinguished Delegate in Committee award representing Bosnia and Herzegovina in the Commission on the Status of Women

The students participated in the General Assembly, Security Council, Human Rights Council–Universal Periodic Review, and Commission on the Status of Women, covering eight different global issues including nuclear disarmament, energy, women’s economic empowerment and the empowerment of indigenous women, Middle Eastern politics, and peacebuilding.

Just one month later, the group traveled to New York City for the national conference, where they represented Colombia on four committees of the General Assembly, the Economic and Social Council, the UN Environmental Assembly, the World Health Organization, the Peacebuilding Commission, the International Organization for Migration, the Commission on Narcotic Drugs, the Commission for Social Development, and the Commission on the Status of Women. Faculty advisor Dr. Stacy Taninchev made a special request for the team to be assigned Colombia given her research and experience examining the sociopolitical implications of coffee production in Colombia.

Once again, the GU delegation made a good showing with over a third of the team earning four awards:

  • Taylor Carnevale (’20, International Relations): Outstanding Position Paper on the Commission for Social Development
  • Bridget Dubus (’20, Political Science) and Frannie Nevil (’20, International Relations and Sociology): Outstanding Position Paper on the General Assembly Third Committee
  • Alicia Heiser (’18, Political Science): Outstanding Position Paper on the International Organization for Migration
  • Abby Sorlie and JD Valle (’19, Political Science and Economics): Outstanding Position Paper on the Commission on the Status of Women

The GU Model UN delegation comprises: Will Ackerman (’21, Business Administration), Jimmy Apffel (’20, History and International Relations), Taylor Carnevale, Alex Casanas (’18, International Relations), Cooper Dean (’21, Economics), Bridget Dubus (’20, Political Science and Sociology), Gabby Hanselman, Aizley Hansen (’18, International Relations and Political Science), Alicia Heiser (’18, Political Science and International Relations), Emily Johnson (’21, Business), AJ Larrañaga (’21, International Relations and Political Science), Alexis Legaspi, Frannie Nevil, Maddy Schultz (’20, Political Science and English), Abby Sorlie (Secretary General), JD Valle (Head Delegate), Hailey York (’21, International Relations), and Sophia Zink (’21, International Relations).

“This year’s delegation includes a lot of new people and they are already fantastic,” says Taninchev. “I’m very excited about the future of the program.”