Naples Council
on
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NCWA
Our mission is to educate, inspire and engage our community in international affairs and critical global issues
 
    

2022 MUN

St. John Neumann Places Third in Model UN National Competition

                           

Winners of Merit Awards at the National High School Model United Nations competition
in New York City were, first photo, from left, Jake Marks and Catherine Lund, accepting
the team award for work on position papers and opening speeches, and second photo,
Hunter Lund, left and Alessio Cirino, accepting a Merit Award for meritorious debate
and diplomacy skills in their committee.


A student team from St. John Neumann Catholic High School in Naples has won third place at the National High School Model United Nations competition in New York City. The Merit Award was for research and preparation, including position papers and opening speeches. More than 250 national and international teams attended the competition. 

The team did not win any awards at the Southwest Florida Model UN Conference this year and its members did not win any scholarships or money awards. However, Jake Marks, a sophomore member, was accepted to the summer program at Georgetown University. 

At the local competition, the team represented Ireland, Panama and Japan in several committees. It represented Belgium on six committees in the national competition. 

In the national competition, Hunter Lund and Alessio Cirino received a Merit Award (third place) for demonstrating meritorious debate and diplomacy skills in their committee, which consisted of more than 35 teams. 

Team members in the national competition were Megan Ayan, Mia Brewer, Alessio Cirino, Bella Fernandez, Sloane Janopoulis, Catherine Lund, Hunter Lund, Thomas Lund, Jake Marks, Sophia McCartney, Ben O'Brien, Clark Purdom, Kale Van Wart, Sophia Van Wyk, and Morgan Zolna. 

They were coached by faculty member Cindy Brewer, who teaches SAT preparation, creative arts, speech and debate and choir and is freshman advisor, Model UN coach and theatre director. Next year she will teach a Model UN honors class. St. John Neumann began competing at the Southwest Florida Model UN Conference in 2021. Earlier this year, the team had raised funds and awareness by constructing a Model UN “snow globe” for display during the school’s annual gala.


 Model UN 2022 Was a Resounding Success

NCWA’s Southwest Florida Model UN competition wrapped up this year as another resounding success. Two hundred ten students were registered, and 196 attended the two-day event at Florida Gulf Coast University, with 14 schools representing 31 countries at UN proceedings. This was the 29th year that NCWA has been operating the MUN competition for area high schools.

Based on generous donations from our members, NCWA awarded $36,000 in scholarships and awards to students and teams. 

In the Top Schools category, prizes, funded by Gregor Zore and Edith Hunt, were awarded to Gulf Coast High School, winning first place and $1,000 for the team; Port Charlotte High School, second place and $700, and Barron Collier High School, third place, $300. Golden Gate High School won the $500 Diana McGowen Most Improved School Award, also funded by Gregor Zore and Edith Hunt.

Winners of the Climate Change and Hunger Special Competition were Lely High School, first, $500, funded by Howard and Nancy Cohen; Bonita Springs High School, second, $350, funded by Mickey and Mo Winograd; and Cypress Lake High School, third, $200, funded by Steve and Carol Vesce.

Position paper awards went to Jacob Silver, Cypress Lake High School, first prize and the $1,500 Greg Hudson Award; Sophia Cadavid, Gulf Coast High School, second place and the $1,000 Barbara Markel Memorial Award; Ava Binkowski, Cypress Lake High School, third place and $500; Grace Thomforde, Golden Gate High School, fourth prize and $300; and Marco Albertorio-Vazquez, Gulf Coast High School, fifth place and $200.

Surya Dodia of Gulf Coast High School won the Ralph J. Bunche Award and $6,000 for her multiple years of participation.

Other multi-year participation winners, all of Gulf Coast High School, were Sydney Shaw, the $3,000 Ed and Karen Leland Award; Sara Hooper, the $2,500 Mimi Gregory Award; Win Thant Hlaing, $2,500 Thomas J. O’Gorman Memorial Award; Noelle Morey, $2,500 Gregor Zore and Edith Hunt Award; Osei Allen, the $2,500 Ron Gymer Memorial Award; Leah Verwohlt, $2,000 Iqbal and Shelby Mamdani Award; and Jeremiah Paul, $2,000 David and Beverly Worthington Award. Jacob Silver of Cypress Lake High School won the $2,000 George Gotschall Memorial Award.

Osei Allen of Gulf Coast High School won the $1,000 Best Single Year Performance Award; Alejandra Ramos of Lely High School, $1,000 Rising School Delegate Award; Emma Upson of Gulf Coast High School, $400 Best Single Year for a Junior Award; Maya Doonan of Gulf Coast High School, $400 Best Single Year for a Sophomore Award; and Isabella Lala of Gulf Coast High School, $400 Best Single Year for a Freshman Award.

This year, the committees and topics ranged from the future of Afghanistan, to developing a new framework for global conservation, to developing new vaccines for future global pandemics.  The list of topics and committees can be found here: https://www.swflmun.org/committees--topics--and-guides.

Students register as Model UN delegates in the fall and select up to three countries for their club/delegation to represent and begin preparations for the competition months in advance, assisted in their research by teacher coaches. Students competing for awards prepare position papers on their topics, which are then reviewed and rated by a panel of NCWA members ahead of time. They learn the structure of the United Nations and how to navigate its policies and procedures, including how to draft resolutions.

Students advocate positions of their selected countries and negotiate to achieve consensus on the issue being discussed, usually dealing with widely divergent views from the collective countries represented. Students use knowledge gained in researching their assigned country and topic(s) to present their nation's points of view.

Volunteer judges are assigned to a committee and asked to rate the most effective delegates, using guidelines provided by NCWA.  

Model UN chair for 2022 was Ed Leland, NCWA Board of Directors member whose term ended this year. Alan Van Egmond, NCWA Board of Directors member and co-vice chair of Model UN this year, will be chair of the program next year.


Surya Dodia, a senior at Gulf Coast High School,
receives the Ralph Bunche Award from Dick Clemens,
who funds 
$2,000 of this $6,000 award. 



Model UN delegates raise placards showing the name of their 
country to vote.



Spending a moment with Ambassador Tony Hall, right, who spoke
on the final day about world hunger and encouraged students
to consider careers in international affairs, are 
Dr. Michael McDonald,
chief international officer and assistant 
vice president of academic
affairs at FGCU, left, and Dr. 
Michael V. Martin, president of FGCU, center. 


2022 MODEL UN CONFERENCE WINNERS   

​  Top Schools  (earned for the team)                      (Funded by Gregor Zore & Edith Hunt)

      1st Place ($1,000):  Gulf Coast High School
2nd Place ($700):    Port Charlotte High School
3rd Place ($300):     Barron Collier High School

  Diana McGowen Most Improved School ($500 for the team)

      Golden Gate High School                              (Funded by Gregor Zore & Edith Hunt)

  Climate Change & Hunger Special Competition   

      1st place: $500 - Lely High School                 (Funded by Howard & Nancy Cohen)
2nd place: $350 - Bonita Springs High School (Funded by Mickey & Mo Winograd)
3rd place: $200 - Cypress Lake High School    (Funded by Steve & Carol Vesce)

  Position Paper Awards                

              School                Country                Student

      1st:   Cypress Lake     Norway              Jacob Silver                       ($1,500 Greg Hudson award)
2nd:  Gulf Coast         Morocco             Sophia Cadavid                  ($1,000 Barbara Markel Memorial award)
3rd:   Cypress Lake     Norway              Ava Binkowski                   ($   500 award
4th:   Golden Gate      Mexico               Grace Thomforde               ($   300 award)
5th:   Gulf Coast         Australia            Marco Albertorio-Vazquez    ($   200 award)

  Position Papers Deserving Mention​

      Emma Upson - Gulf Coast
Surya Dodia - Gulf Coast
Catherine Graham - Donahue Academy
        Anthony Busatta - Cape Coral
        Savanna Varon - Barron Collier
        Isidor Radojevic  -  Barron Collier
        Darshan Dadlani  -  Barron Collier
     
Erik Jepson  -  Barron Collier
Kajsa Carlsen  -  Port Charlotte
        Matthew Scheck  -  Donahue Academy
        Maya Doonan  -  Gulf Coast
        Sophia Foy  -  Mariner
        Abigail Cudnik  -  Cape Coral
        Mary Fairchild  -  Donahue Academy
        Amanda Lugo  -  Golden Gate
        Courtney Andrews  -  Golden Gate

  Multiyear Participation Awards

    Gulf Coast         Surya Dodia             Ralph J. Bunche award                     $6,000
 Gulf Coast         Sydney Shaw           Ed & Karen Leland award                 $3,000
         Gulf Coast         Sara Hooper            Mimi Gregory award                         $2,500
         Gulf Coast         Win Hlaing               Thomas J. O'Gorman Memorial         $2,500
         Gulf Coast         Noelle Morey            Gregor Zore & Edith Hunt award       $2,500
         Gulf Coast         Osei Allen                 Ron Gymer Memorial award             $2,500
         Gulf Coast         Leah Verwohlt          Iqbal & Shelby Mamdani award         $2,000
         Gulf Coast         Jeremiah Paul          David & Beverly Worthington award   $2,000
         Cypress Lake    Jacob Silver             George Gotschall Memorial award       $2,000

  2022 Performance Awards

      Gulf Coast             Osei Allen                Best Single Year Performance        $1,000
Lely                       Alejandra Ramos     Rising School Delegate                  $1,000
Gulf Coast            Emma Upson           Best Single Year - Junior                 $   400
Gulf Coast             Maya Doonan          Best Single Year - Sophomore         $   400
        Gulf Coast             Isabella Lala            Best Single Year - Freshman           $   400

By MO WINOGRAD
Model UN Co-Vice Chair

Fortunately, with leadership and strong encouragement from Ed Leland, we were able to return to the FGCU campus for Model UN 2022. 

Many thanks to Dennis Parass, who was critical in getting the judges recruited, matching them with the UN Committee on which they wished to serve, and assisting with the training. In addition to this task, Dennis is also responsible for the photography seen here and on the various websites. 

Position Papers: Paula Himowitz stepped up to the plate again this year as chair of the position paper competition. She rounded up a wonderful group of NCWA members who acted as readers. Additional prizes were awarded this year, which enhanced the entire competition. Any student delegate who wanted to be eligible for a cash award must have written a position paper. 

The following NCWA members contributed countless hours reading and scoring the Position Papers:

Roger Barna, Rollin Crawford, Natalie Fisher, Jill Force, Joe Forgiano, Joanne Fowler, Benjamin Glick, Mike Himowitz, Nancy Kohn, Rik Kohn, Kishor Kulkarni, Barbara Lafer, Judi Mollerus, Bobbi Polacheck, Robert Roussel, Ed Serotta, Chuck Theisen, Julie Van Egmond and Bill Woods.

Final readers were Martha Davis, Greg Weber, Ruthmarie Mitsch, Michael Smith, Paula Lockhart and Jan Johnson.

Software: We again used MUNCommand software that is used by most of the European Model UNs to run the MUN Committees. The developers, Jonas Bruns and Alex Dietz, came in person from Paris and Munich in mid-February to visit with, and pick the brains of, some of our more experienced MUN judges regarding criteria we use to judge our competition. It was an instructive session for all concerned. 

Jonas did a software training session for our chairs on Zoom, which we recorded for use in future years. We also hired Syed Fuad to train chairs on how to manage the room. He was one of our superstars from Cape Coral High who went on to college, where he continued competing and chairing with Model UN. We also had that training session on Zoom and have it recorded for use in future years. 

Unsung Heroes: One other unsung hero in this Model UN was Steve Vesce, a judge and co-vice chair of MUN. He also chaired a MUN committee with the able assistance of Patrick Mattingly as assistant chair. David Heiman served as an assistant chair of a different committee. We hope in future competitions, we can get other MUN judges to agree to chair a committee. Having a strong bench of chairs is critical to the success of MUN. This was a fine start.  

Our vice chair, Alan Van Egmond, began serious efforts on outreach this year on behalf of Model UN. Thanks to his efforts, we now have the Global Affairs Department and the Honors College at FGCU involved and willing to assist us this coming year with committee choices and background guides to correspond with the committee choices. These connections will bear significant fruit in the years to come. And they will further enhance our involvement with FGCU. 

Alan also met with all the social studies coordinators from Charlotte, Lee and Collier Counties to get them further invested in helping us attract new schools to our competition. We were grateful, after just coming out of Covid, that we were able to attract 14 schools from all three counties. It is a very good base on which to build. 

And, Alan attracted our wonderful guest speaker, former Ambassador and Congressman for 28 years, Tony Hall, a leading expert in combating world hunger and recipient of the 2020 Dayton Peace Prize. He is former U.S. Ambassador to UN Agencies for Food and Agriculture and chief of the U.S. Mission to the UN Agencies in Rome, which includes the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO), the World Food Programme, and the International Fund for Agricultural Development. He urged the young delegates to make the world a better place by leading lives of purpose and meaningful change for the good of others. He stressed how a life of public service is a life well lived. 

Committees and Their Leaders: The conference supported the work of student delegates in five committees. Committees, their subjects for discussion, and their volunteer chairs were:

Security Council, “Haiti,” chair Nicole Stanco and assistant chair Derek Cook; General Assembly, “Afghanistan,” chair Julia Zuercher and assistant chair Gisselle Ramirez; Economic and Social Committee, “Renewable Energy,” chair Mariah Coughlin and assistant chair Nadjuska Maurice; Convention on Biological Diversity, chair Amy Enberg and assistant chair Katie Metscher; Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, chair Pamela Ramon and assistant chair Sophie Iregui; Disarmament and International Security Committee, “Cybersecurity,” chair Steve Vesce and assistant chair Patrick Mattingly; 

Also, Legal 1 Committee, “CRISPR Technology,” chair Dr. Richard Coughlin and assistant chair Dominick Thomas; World Health Organization, “Covid Vaccines,” chair Mathew Proeschel and assistant chair David Heiman; Legal 2 Committee, “Arctic Competition,” chair Carson Brown and assistant chair Meagan Siefried; UN Office on Drugs and Crime, chair Clarisse Fontes and assistant chair Katherine Suero; UN Human Rights Committee, chair Hanna Nussair and assistant chair Malani Planchar; Economic and Financial Committee, chair Ethan Upsom and assistant chair Caleb Brasington.

Coaching for High Schools: We began a new venture this year. Thanks to funding provided by Iqbal and Shelby Mamdani, we were able to hire Nicole Stanco, a senior at FGCU and a long time Model UN competitor, to go to the various registered high schools and help coach the newer delegates on how give their best performances at MUN. Nicole is young and vibrant, and the students she worked with were very grateful. 

When we co-hosted a training/practice session at FGCU on February 19, when Nicole walked into the room there was a loud cheer for her from all the students with whom she had worked. Alan Van Egmond and I visited Immokalee High School and watched Nicole in action coaxing nervous kids out of their seats and up to the front of the room to present their positions. She would always explain how nervous she was when she first started MUN in high school and how life changing it had been for her to improve her own self confidence.   She was very convincing that it would be the same for them, too. 

Returning Superstars: Many Model UN superstar alumni from Gulf Coast High School, now attending college in Florida, agreed to come back as chairs this year. We also had returning chairs from Minnesota, Washington DC and Boston. It speaks volumes about the value of this program that we can continue to attract these home-grown superstars to come back and be part of our MUN year after year. 

More Heroes: We all know the reason that MUN hums like a well-oiled machine is because of Beth Foss, our back-room organizer and facilitator. I am not sure we could ever pull off a Model UN without Beth doing all the grunt work. Her work product speaks for itself. It is a wonderment, in large part because of this one woman. 

We cannot close without acknowledging the leadership provided by our Model UN chair, Ed Leland. He knows how to dot every “i” and cross every “t” and keeps us all moving in a forward direction. Ed created many new awards for MUN 2022 and found many ways to get them funded. Ed did NCWA proud. 

Naples Council on World Affairs
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