U of A Students Take Top Honors at International Model United Nations

photo of students
January 17 , 2024  |  By Lori McLemore

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In November, 14 students from the University of Arkansas competed at the International Model United Nations conference held in Erfurt, Germany, and left with five top honors.
The students, mainly from the Sam M. Walton College of Business and the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences, are majoring in economics, international studies, political science and biochemistry. At the conference, the Arkansas teams represented the United Kingdom and Bolivia delegations and competed with 40 other colleges and universities with some 450 students from around the world. 
The conference features four committees holding proceedings. Students, awarded for their efforts by these committees and their peers, may receive outstanding as the top award, distinguished as second place or an honorable mention as third place.
Each student from the U of A was recognized! Of the 14 students participating, 11 were new to the competition, yet still earned five of the top awards at the conference.

  • Outstanding Position Paper Award for Research:
    • Mackenzie Mollner
    • Sydney Kincaid
  • Outstanding Delegate Award to Bolivia on the Human Rights Council:
    • Sydney Foster
    • Leen Samman
  • Outstanding Delegate Award to Bolivia on the United Nations Environmental Assembly:
    • Mackenzie Mollner
    • Sydney Kincaid
  • Outstanding Delegation Award for the United Kingdom team:
    • Iana Ruheta
    • Daisy Rehbock
    • Lily Raccasi
    • Sergio Lopez
    • Nathan Martin
    • Erica Jones
    • Mackenzie Mollner
    • Sydney Kincaid
  • Outstanding Delegation Award for Bolivia:
    • Brayden Hartwig
    • Jackson Walton
    • Steicy Lopez
    • Brady Voss
    • Sydney Foster
    • Leen Samman

To prepare for the competition, students began researching in March of last year, continuing through the summer. In the fall semester, students refined their research eight times before finalizing it in October. Students also honed their public speaking capabilities and networking skills needed for the conference and for their careers.
“Very few of our students have any experience in an endeavor such as the Model United Nations nor have many of them travelled internationally. I teach this class as a personal as well as professional development class. Their research, public speaking and networking skills are greatly enhanced,” said Robert Stapp, professor of economics and the faculty advisor for the IMUN initiative. “By the time the conference is held, our novices have tremendous confidence and are ready for this daunting challenge. I have marveled at their evolution from timid public speakers to confident statesmen capable of speaking to an audience of over a hundred people articulating compelling and convincing speeches without the use of any notes.” 
The Arkansas group faced teams from elite schools including Stanford University, Pepperdine University, University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth, Tel Aviv University and many more. Students came from Europe, South America, Germany, Philippines and Japan.
The U of A has been represented at the International Model United Nations conference since 2011 and has earned 89 of the top awards during this period.
“I am very proud to say that the students at the University of Arkansas are equal to the best in the world. Since 2011, they have proven this every year in the NMUN Conferences held not only in America, but around the world,” Stapp said. “Our students have gone on to further their educations at the London School of Economics, Oxford, Cambridge and Chicago while others have entered law schools such as Stanford, Virginia and Duke among many others. The University of Arkansas can be justly proud of their accomplishments.”

Lori McLemoreSince 2013, Lori McLemore has served as the marketing and communications officer for the Sam M. Walton College of Business. In this role, she writes press releases and features articles to promote the work of students, faculty and staff. 

Prior to working at Walton College, she worked as the director of web strategy and operations for Boys & Girls Clubs of America, the national headquarters for 3,500 Boys & Girls Clubs. She was part of the core team to establish an intranet site for Clubs around the globe and the public internet site for the national nonprofit located in Atlanta.

Lori holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from Auburn University ... and loves BOTH the Arkansas Razorbacks (Woo Pig!!) and the Auburn Tigers (War Eagle!!)