Thursday, May 18, 2023
The win marks the 14th time Rider received the award over the past 20 years
by Adam Grybowski
Rider University's Model United Nations (UN) team was awarded the Outstanding Delegation Award at the 2023 national Model UN conference in New York City, the world's largest international collegiate simulation in international relations. This is the highest award given at the conference, and Rider has now won it 14 times over the past two decades.
The team also won a Position Paper Award for the work done by Maria Castillo, a political science major, and Bobby Barbero, a global studies major. These juniors were recognized for their outstanding work on the International Atomic Energy Agency committee.
“For the nearly 20 years I’ve been the adviser for Rider’s Model UN teams, the teams have done exemplary work winning numerous awards year after year,” says Dr. Barbara Franz, professor of political science. “This year’s team upheld that tradition and received the Outstanding Delegation Award, which reflects its superb performance.”
The competition, which was held at the UN Headquarters in New York City, typically draws more than 200 colleges and universities from around the world, and engages thousands of student-delegates in diplomacy, negotiation, public speaking and more. As a founding member of the competition, Rider has attended every conference since 1967.
Participation in the Model UN is offered through a student-led course that runs from September through April. The coursework requires students to write position papers and develop their ability to speak extemporaneously during debates. This preparation helps the students negotiate, persuade and gain the cooperation of other student groups, each of whom are representing different UN member states from around the world.
For the nearly 20 years I’ve been the adviser for Rider’s Model UN teams, the teams have done exemplary work winning numerous awards year after year."
This year's Rider team, led by head delegate Katy Timari and leaders Devon Shaw and Christina Natoli, represented Armenia, which is viewed by some as an emerging democracy. Timari led the class as they learned about the history and culture of the country so they could effectively advocate for its position.
"It's a super-intensive process that requires long days of work," Timari says. "You're working through issues like you would in the actual UN. You get into a diplomatic headspace, which is really cool, and it's a really fulfilling experience to figure out how you would interact with other committee members during the conference."
With Rider's winning legacy, Timari knew she had big shoes to fill as head delegate. The senior health care policy and political science double major had participated in the conference already as a sophomore and junior.
"Honestly, it was nerve-wracking," she says about assuming the top leadership position. "But it was a special moment to stand and be recognized after we were named the winner, and a huge relief and cause for celebration."
Timari's experience increased her self-confidence and helped her grow as a public speaker. It also broadened her outlook on what can be accomplished as a citizen. Upon graduation in May, Timari will begin a yearlong fellowship with Appalachia Service Project, where she has previously interned. The organization coordinates volunteers who repair homes for low-income families in rural Central Appalachia.
"Model UN has helped me think of myself as a global citizen, not just in my personal actions but on a broad scale," Timari says. "It's helped me think more consciously about the impact I'm going to have on sustainability and future generations."