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Vol. XXV
No. 4

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by Sarah Pride
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Students Triumph in International Arena

Already known for their skills in public speaking, 20 Patrick Henry College students have again distinguished themselves, this time at the prestigious National Model United Nations (NMUN) Conference in New York City—an activity that is more about relationships than sheer powers of argumentation. Out of 300 participating schools and nearly 2,500 students in attendance, PHC was honored with the Outstanding Delegation Award, the highest award given at the United Nations simulation conference. The college was one of only 18 schools to be so recognized in a conference that included the London School of Economics, Catholic University of America, University of Cairo, University of Munich, California State Polytechnic University, Goethe University, Istanbul Bilgi University, Pepperdine University, and Baylor University.

PHC represented Luxembourg at the National Model United Nations Conference.
PHC/Jennifer Olmstead
Part of the PHC team assigned to represent Luxembourg at the NMUN stands in front of the monument “Non-violence” (a.k.a. Knotted Gun), which was donated by the government of Luxembourg to the UN.

PHC juniors Rachel Blum and Jordan Spencer received much-coveted individual awards for Outstanding Delegate in their committee—the high-pressure Security Council, also known as the “super bowl” to NMUN conference faculty. And PHC juniors Kyndra Jamison and Ben Rogers received the same honor in their committee. This is an award selected by other committee participants, representing a vote of confidence from one’s peers.

“Patrick Henry College students do it again! I’m thrilled, but not surprised,” said PHC President Dr. Graham Walker. “Our students lead the way, because they have the skills and the Christian commitment to truth that make them an ‘outstanding delegation’ wherever they go. I’m looking forward to congratulating our NMUN group personally when they return to campus."

Cheryl Banks, executive assistant to the PHC president and provost, has provided much support to the NMUN teams during the college’s four years of participation. “PHC has become recognized, not just around the U.S., but around the world,” she observed, “as a school that fosters excellence, intellect, and character, as witnessed [at Model UN] when they are observed in action.”

Model United Nations is an academic simulation of the UN, which aims to give students first-hand experience in multilateral diplomacy. It brings together students from a variety of different countries, backgrounds, and political views to discuss solutions to global issues such as nuclear proliferation and human trafficking. At the conference, students from across the globe represent delegations from different countries and serve in UN committees, such as the Security Council, the World Trade Organization, and the General Assembly. Acting as foreign diplomats, students are expected to remain in character, referring to each other only by country name. The contest helps students to better understand the purpose and methods of the UN—which students from more conservative schools typically view with deep skepticism—and to see global affairs from an international perspective. Such a perspective, said PHC Chancellor Dr. Michael Farris, is crucial to leaders in this day and age.

“To preserve its liberty, America needs able advocates who have a deep understanding and commitment to the importance of American sovereignty, yet who can effectively communicate that message in the international arena,” said Farris. “PHC students have just demonstrated that they have this absolutely unique set of skills that America so desperately needs. We are incredibly proud of their accomplishment, but even more excited about the hope this offers for the future.”

To join the prestigious NMUN competition, a college usually creates an official “for credit” class under a faculty sponsor, picks a country to represent, and spends several months studying key issues intensely. These delegations often study their adoptive countries under the tutelage of an actual UN delegate. These advantages were unavailable to PHC this year. With no funds in the college budget specifically for the Model UN Club, students took the initiative themselves to maintain the club, raising more than $11,000 for their trip through a tag sale and letter-writing campaign to relatives. Additionally, two generous donors matched those contributions.

PHC seniors Matt Lukowiak and Nikki Georgacakis assumed roles as Head Delegates, attending regular NMUN planning sessions and accepting the country of Luxembourg, a small landlocked country in western Europe, bordered by Belgium, France, and Germany, as their country of origin. Jennifer Olmstead, a PHC alumna who earned Outstanding Delegate at NMUN last year, served as chaperone and unofficial coach during the last three weeks of preparation.

About the author

Sarah Pride is an editorialist for Patrick Henry College.