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Westminster’s Model UN wins award at Chicago conference

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Posted on Monday, January 29, 2024

Westminster College attended the 34th annual American Model United Nations National Conference (AMUN) in Chicago last fall, bringing home an award for their representation of China.

This year 29 students traveled to Chicago to compete with thousands of students from over 70 colleges and universities. Westminster’s students represented China, Hungary and Democratic People’s Republic of North Korea. Westminster has participated in the AMUN conference since 2009, making this the 15th consecutive year of attendance.

Westminster’s China delegation was represented on eight committees, while Hungary and North Korea each participated in five. Delegations were given several topics to pursue including humanitarian decisions for natural disasters, prohibition of development, production and stockpiling of biological weapons and more.

The four-day conference included committee meetings, press conferences, speeches and debates. Alliances were made between countries and resolutions were presented as topics became more involved. Emergency meetings were held day and night to mimic the actions of the actual United Nations with their procedures and unpredictable schedules.

Delegates McKenzie Means and Shannon Mullan won the Outstanding Delegation Award for their exceptional representation of China in the General Assembly, Second Committee.

“Within the four days of the conference, we wrote resolutions, gave many speeches, negotiated with other delegates and even held a press conference,” said Means, a sophomore political science major from Meadville, Pa. “I am so proud of the work Shannon and I completed and I am very grateful to be awarded an Outstanding Delegation Award for all our hard work throughout the conference.”

“We were extremely shocked about winning, we really struggled through the conference to get other delegates to cooperate,” said Mullan, an exchange student from Antrim, Northern Ireland. “However, perseverance, continuous speeches and continuous confidence in the committee room definitely paid off.”

Christina Loewe, a junior from Austin, Texas, is the president of Westminster’s Model UN organization and is double majoring in international studies and political science. The permanent head delegate this year was Victoria Valcarcel-Matos, a junior from Winter Springs, Fla., double majoring in marketing and professional sales and mathematics.

“I think that the most valuable thing about attending as president of the club and in a security council is all the practice we get in public speaking and overall building relationships with the other countries throughout negotiations with them,” said Loewe.

In preparation for the conference, students join the Model UN student organization on campus. A Model UN class that teaches parliamentary procedure and rotates topics relevant to the UN is offered too.

Attending the conference with students was faculty adviser Dr. Michael Aleprete, professor of political science.

“Model UN provides students with the opportunity to enhance their public speaking and diplomatic skills. The intensity of the conference builds self-confidence while teaching students about compromise and procedure. Every year our students get so much out of these four days in Chicago. I am proud of how well our students did this year and look forward to next year,” said Aleprete.

Other student participants included:
•    Ryan Crissman, a sophomore accounting major from Allison Park, Pa.
•    Nicholas Smith, a junior political science major from Harrison City, Pa.
•    Marcus Tokar, a junior business administration major from New Wilmington, Pa.
•    Dalton Hamm, a senior history major from Leechburg, Pa.
•    Gabe Diulus, a senior finance major from Allison Park, Pa.
•    Ethan Nejad, a senior finance major from Rocky River, Ohio    
•    Victoria Harden, a senior interdisciplinary studies major and honors student from Greensburg, Pa.
•    Ashley Tarter, a senior political science and English double major from Alliance, Ohio
•    Wesley Yeager, a sophomore international business and business administration double major from Wampum, Pa.
•    Lilly Hefner, a junior honors student double majoring in molecular biology and criminal justice studies from Washington, Pa.
•    Kent Dunn, a senior finance and accounting double major from West Valley City, Utah
•    Nicolina Risavi, a junior political science major from Greenville, Pa.
•    Jonathan Bates, a senior biology major from Cheswick, Pa.
•    Peter Canoveli, a junior business administration major from Pittsburgh, Pa.
•    Portland Canoveli, a junior business administration major from Pittsburgh, Pa.
•    Colin O’Malley, a senior accounting major from Pittsburgh, Pa.
•    Erin Callahan-Cardin, a sophomore political science major from Orlinda, Tenn.
•    Sarah Anil Cherian, a sophomore political science major and honors student from Spring, Texas
•    Tim Kudratullaev, a sophomore international business major from Coraopolis, Pa.
•    Caio Souza, a sophomore political science major from Irvine, Calif.
•    Mateus Souza, a sophomore political science and criminal justice double major from Irvine, Calif.
•    Conner Roberts, a freshman business administration and criminal justice double major from Washington, Pa.
•    Gabriela Garza, a junior biochemistry major from Spring Hill, Tenn.
•    Gabrielle DiDolce, a junior accounting major from Shippenville, Pa.
•    Kelsey Humes, a senior marketing and professional sales major from Pittsburgh, Pa.

Westminster will host a high school Model UN conference on April 18. All area high schools are invited to campus to participate in this event.

For more information about Model UN or Westminster’s Department of Political Science, visit