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Model U.N. Excels in D.C.; Readies for NYC

November 17, 2021

There’s a popular saying that reminds us the third time is a charm. Its origins aren’t really known but it is a long-known and long-believed phrase. For senior Jahona Akbarova and the Model United Nations, the third time was the charm.

“This was my first time actually being there,” the business major admitted. “It was a wonderful experience.”

She had been part of the College’s Model U.N. team twice before. The 2020 conference was canceled due to COVID-19 and the 2021 conference was held online. Earlier this month, she was one of 10 College of Idaho students to attend the Model U.N. conference in Washington, D.C., and the team earned a “Distinguished Delegation” award for its efforts.

“Winning an award was incredible for us,” Akbarova said. “We did our best and the support we got from (advisor) Dr. (Rob) Dayley, how prepared we were without the extra pressure, it was fun.”

The conference – led by alumna and Model U.N. veteran Courtney Indart ’15 as the event’s Secretary-General – featured more than 80 delegations from 65 colleges and universities, including an international team from Colombia. Dayley equated the team award to winning a silver medal, an impressive achievement for the College’s team.

“If you’re representing six committees, like we were, you have to get recognized across all the committees to be labeled a distinguished delegation,” explained Dayley, a political economy professor at the College. “You have to be strong across the board. You can’t just have one or two strong delegates.”

Each team is assigned a nation to represent at the conference and it is the team’s assignment to best represent that country, not their own personal beliefs and opinions, at the conference. The College of Idaho represented India in this conference. There are multiple committees working during the event and Dayley explained the goal of the teams.

“Because you’re simulating international diplomacy, what all countries are trying to do is work together to collectively solve certain problems that exist internationally,” he said. “Sometimes, people think Model U.N. is some sort of competition or debate and it’s really not.”

The teams do get judged based on their work and people get recognized within committees for their efforts. Seniors Josh Andersen and Marharyta Horokhova co-wrote a position paper for their committee, High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development, that earned Most Outstanding Position Paper.

Traditionally, the College has attended one Model U.N. conference per year. However, the College will attend two this year: November’s conference in Washington, D.C., and then a second conference in New York City that will take place in April. Dayley said it was possible because the College did not attend an in-person event the past two years, which saved money. The upcoming Model U.N. event is larger and will feature more international teams. It’s also the conference where the College earned “Outstanding Delegation” honors in 2019 while representing St. Vincent and the Grenadines. This spring, the College will co-represent France. Dayley says the College and King’s College (Connecticut) will both represent France, each participating in some committees, but will not collaborate with one another and will be judged separately.

Akbarova will attend April’s conference as well and serve as the College’s head delegate. And, after missing out on her first two chances to participate in-person at a Model U.N. conference, she remembers Dayley’s words about attending.

“You should enjoy it to the fullest and get the experience rather than compete with everyone,” she recalls him telling her. “Learn from it, learn something new. Learn how to be a good delegate and how to work with other people.”

These ten students comprised the College’s team in Washington, D.C.:

Josh Andersen, Head Delegate (Senior, Political Economy)
Marharyta Horokhova (Senior, Business)
Jahona Akbarova (Senior, Business)
Kaelynn Crawford (Senior, International Political Economy)
Lana Grubisic (Senior, International Political Economy)
Patience Mabidikama (Senior, International Political Economy)
Imad Ahmetspahic (Junior, International Political Economy)
Max Breiling (Junior, Political Economy)
Lorena Mazariegos (Junior, Business)
Melanie Dawson (Sophomore, Political Economy)

The College of Idaho has a 130-year-old legacy of excellence. The College is known for its outstanding academic programs, winning athletics tradition, and history of producing successful graduates, including seven Rhodes Scholars, three governors, and countless business leaders and innovators. Its distinctive PEAK Curriculum challenges students to attain competency in the four knowledge peaks of humanities, natural sciences, social sciences, and a professional field—empowering them to earn a major and three minors in four years. The College’s close-knit, residential campus is located in Caldwell, where its proximity both to Boise and to the world-class outdoor activities of southwest Idaho’s mountains and rivers offers unique opportunities for learning beyond the classroom. For more information, visit