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C of I Model UN team earns high marks at nationals

The College of Idaho’s Model United Nations group produced another impressive result at the 2015 Conference of National Model United Nations, earning a Distinguished Delegation Award for its representation of The Republic Maldives at the March 23-27 conference in New York City.

The Distinguished Delegation Award is the second-highest honor a team can achieve at NMUN. It is the second such honor for the C of I program, and the seventh consecutive NMUN conference where the team has returned to Caldwell with an award.

Click here to check out a photo gallery from National Model United Nations on the C of I Flickr page.

“That our small delegation of 12 students can distinguish itself among so many students and colleges says a lot about the skill sets students develop at the C of I,” said Dr. Rob Dayley, a professor of political economy and advisor of the Model UN program. “Research and hard work are required to be successful, but students also need the intellectual confidence to speak up and push for their positions.”

Roughly 2,500 students representing more than 200 schools and 40-plus countries converge to simulate international diplomacy at NMUN. Students research and write position papers prior to the conference and then make speeches during formal debate and spend hours in caucus jointly writing resolutions and reports. Delegates are judged by the quality of their work as they represent 220 different country delegations and civil society organizations. Only 26 schools received a Distinguished Delegation Award.

“A Distinguished Delegation Award is an amazing result because it shows a consistent team effort across the board,” Dayley said. “Colleges do not earn this award with only one or two strong delegates—it’s a total team effort of consistent performance across many committees.”

This year’s C of I delegation featured two Model UN veterans and 10 newcomers. Senior head delegate Courtney Indart was selected as Chair of the UN Committee on Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women, becoming one of 20 students in the entire conference to serve as a committee chair. C of I senior Morgan Thornberry, also a veteran delegate, served on the Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference with freshman teammate Kaitlyn Parks.

“Since I was in high school, I have envisioned myself working in international relations,” Indart said. “Model UN has been a great way for me to apply the facts and theories I have learned in the Political Economy Department. The team Professor Dayley put together was very tight-knit, and we all dedicated ourselves to the being a successful delegation. Our time in New York this year was truly amazing!”

Representing the C of I on three large committees of the General Assembly were seniors Shaun Mandiwana, Jaimee Havens and Kayla Reichmann, juniors Lucas Morse and Gabe Osterhout, and freshman Evan Fishburn. These six delegates deliberated on topics ranging from international migration and controlling autonomous weapons systems to the elimination of racial discrimination and xenophobia. Sophomore Sydnie Kremin served on the Human Rights Council and senior Challis Cates and junior Max Schaffner teamed up to lead efforts in the United Nations Environmental Program. 

The C of I group also met up with several alumni in the Big Apple, including Board of Trustees member Akshay Kulkarni (’05), who treated the delegation to Indian food at his Manhattan apartment. Kulkarni, who works for CitiGroup in New York, competed at NMUN as a C of I student.

Current or prospective C of I students who are interested in joining Model UN should contact Professor Dayley at [email protected].

Founded in 1891, The College of Idaho is the state’s oldest private liberal arts college. The C of I has a legacy of academic excellence, a winning athletics tradition and a history of producing successful graduates, including seven Rhodes Scholars and 14 Marshall, Truman and Goldwater Scholars. The College’s close-knit, residential campus is located in Caldwell. Its distinctive PEAK Curriculum challenges students to attain competency in the four knowledge peaks of the humanities, natural sciences, social sciences and a professional field—empowering them to earn a major and three minors in four years. For more information, visit