By Daniel Ngongo

As the curtains fell on the 44th Model United Nations Conference, my perspective as a delegate was filled with more than just the exhilaration of debate and the pride of representation. Behind the formal wear and the formalities, I saw an arena for growth beyond conventional education. The simulation was a microcosm of the real world where theoretical knowledge met practical diplomacy.

Participants from institutions like EKU, Manchester University and IUS tackled global crises including the Israeli-Palestinian dispute, the conflict in Ukraine and the rising political turmoil in Haiti.

More than 60 student delegates dove into the nuances of policy and peacemaking, using structured debates to drive the council’s agenda. The emphasis was on the pressing refugee crisis, pushing for resourceful policy proposals. The endorsed resolutions carried the possibility of influencing real-world policy, with the potential to reach the floor of the UN’s General Assembly.

Praise was given to Tristin Black, Anna Kelly, Jack Boisseau, and Jeremy Faulhaber for their excellence in directing the conference’s debates. They chaired four of the five Security Councils.

The event was a showcase of talent and scholarly excellence; Alex Reynolds, Will VonHandorf, Elijah Deters, myself, Colin McQuarrie, Kaylee Vitato, Miles Frailey, Camden Harris, Sarah Youngman, and Luka Johnson earned top honors across several categories for their diplomatic prowess and role-play integrity.

Second-year participant Camden Harris praised the Model UN. “It was not only enjoyable but also a prime networking avenue for individuals passionate about international affairs and diplomacy.”

Reynolds, who previously served as President of the United Nations Association at U of L, reflected on his journey from virtual participation his freshman year to in-person changes as a senior. “Model UN is integral in developing research abilities and communication skills beneficial across various career paths.”

At the reception, Dr. Tricia Gray of the Political Science Department and Amos Izerimana, Director of International and Immigrant Affairs at the Louisville Metro Government, commended the educational and community-building impact of the event. Both looked forward to continuing the tradition of empowering future leaders through such collaborative and enlightening forums.

Away from the hustle of debates in the quiet corners of the conference, it wasn’t about swapping contact info but sharing our stories. We recounted bits of who we are, where we’re from and what we’re about. I got to see how a simple chat could open my eyes and change my views on the world.

The UNA at U of L is regularly involved in both the Model United Nations in the fall semester and the Model European Union simulation in the spring semester. Interested students can participate in future experiential learning such as this by joining the UNA USA at U of L Chapter by applying on the Engage Louisville organization landing page or by emailing the current President of the chapter, Will VonHandorf.

Photo Courtesy // U of L Political Science