Frank Pobutkiewicz

Three Takeaways from NAIMUN LIV Awards

This past weekend, the Georgetown International Relations Association– or GIRA (long i sound), as the CEO of GIRA repeatedly pointed out– hosted the North American Invitational Model United Nations (NAIMUN) conference. NAIMUN is one of the largest, most competitive conferences in the United States and constantly ranks as one of the top conference experiences.

After taking a look at the NAIMUN LIV awards, I was able to come away with a few takeaways.

Many Schools Winning Many Awards

Unlike other major conferences were it seems a few, elite schools win an overwhelming majority of the awards (see Three Takeaways from HMUN Awards), NAIMUN distinguishes itself not only through their substantive program and philanthropy efforts, but also by dolling out awards to a wide distribution of schools.

Anytime a large number of schools walk away with awards, the better the conference experience is, for a number of reasons. First, committees are generally more active with more students participating. Second, closing ceremony is more meaningful and suspenseful. And third, more schools can return home with a showing for their effort.

Sixty-nine schools received at least one award, over 17% more schools than Harvard Model UN, (a similarly sized conference). Fifteen schools won five or more awards. Let’s take a look at how things shook out for the top fifteen schools at NAIMUN LIV:

  • American Heritage Plantation- 16 Awards (4 Best, 4 Outstanding, 5 Honorable, 4 Verbal)
  • West Windsors-Plainsboro High School South- 15 Awards (4 Best, 2 Outstanding, 2 Honorable, 6 Verbal)
  • West Windsors-Plainsboro High School North- 15 Awards (3 Best, 5 Outstanding, 1 Honorable, 4 Verbal)
  • McLean High School South- 13 Awards (5 Best, 2 Outstanding, 3 Honorable, 3 Verbal)
  • Princeton High School South- 10 Awards (3 Best, 2 Outstanding, 1 Honorable, 4 Verbal)
  • St. Ignatius College Prep- 9 Awards (1 Best, 1 Outstanding, 5 Honorable, 2 Verbal)
  • Radnor High School South- 7 Awards (5 Honorable, 2 Verbal)
  • New Canaan High School- 6 Awards (1 Best, 1 Outstanding, 3 Honorable, 1 Verbal)
  • All-American Model UN- 6 Awards (3 Best, 1 Outstanding, 1 Honorable, 1 Verbal)
  • East Brunswick High School- 5 Awards (2 Best, 1 Outstanding, 1 Honorable, 1 Verbal)
  • Georgetown Day School- 5 Awards (1 Best, 2 Outstanding, 1 Honorable, 1 Verbal)
  • Elmont Memorial High School- 5 Awards (1 Best, 1 Outstanding, 2 Honorable, 1 Verbal)
  • Wootton High School- 5 Awards (1 Best, 4 Outstanding)
  • School without Walls- 5 Awards (3 Outstanding, 1 Honorable, 1 Verbal)
  • Adlai Stevenson High School- 5 Awards (2 Honorable, 3 Verbal)

Intense Competition for Delegation Awards

Having attended well over 100 Model UN conferences in my lifetime, closing ceremonies can, at times, lose their luster. Delegation awards at many conferences, particularly larger conferences where a few schools dominate the awards list, can be confidently predicted before the SecGen announces them. This definitely was not the case at NAIMUN LIV.

As many as six schools were in contention for the Best Large and Outstanding Large delegation awards, and as many as six for Best Small and Outstanding Small. Ultimately, McLean High School accepted the Best Large Delegation, squeaking past West Windsor-Plainsboro High School South, who took Outstanding Large. West Windsor-Plainsboro High School North and American Heritage Plantation missed their names being called by the narrowest of margins. Our All-American team won Best Small, edging out Elmont Memorial who won Outstanding Small Delegation. Georgetown Day School finished right behind.

Greater Distribution of Gavels

NAIMUN LIV awarded 38 gavels to students from 21 schools, with no single school winning more than five Best Delegate awards (McLean High School). Compared to HMUN 2017, where 3 schools won 50% of all Best Delegate awards, NAIMUN’s playing field was much less tilted. I give the NAIMUN staff much credit for their chairing methodology.

As a last note, one of the things I look at when reviewing awards are schools that seem to just miss out on top rankings. Based on the number and types of awards a school wins, you can find schools who seem to be on the verge of being competitive in the coming years. That being said, look out for Wootton High School, School Without Walls, Radnor High School, and New Canaan High School to have big years very soon.

Did You Win an Award at NAIMUN? Want to Improve Your MUN Game?

The recruitment season for the All-American Programs is underway for our summer programs. We have three great opportunities for you to join a community of MUN enthusiasts and dedicated mentors. The Boston Diplomacy Academy can help you to not only improve your Model UN game, but also improve your research, writing, and overall communication skills.

For those students looking to travel this summer, join our Beijing WEMUN Expo Team or our Harvard Model UN India team and spend over two weeks traveling around the world, meeting your peers in China and India, and having an experience you’ll never forget!

Frank Pobutkiewicz

All-American MUN Wins Second Straight Best Small Delegation at NAIMUN LIV

For the second consecutive year, the All-American Model United Nations team competed at Georgetown University’s North American Invitational Model United Nations (NAIMUN) conference, and for the second consecutive year, the team earned the titled of Best Small Delegation.

For many schools across the United States, NAIMUN represents the national championship conference. Last year, over 30 of the best 100 high school teams came to compete. In 2017, while several top ranked programs such as Horace Mann, the Dalton School, Mira Costa, University of Chicago Lab School, JP Stevens, and Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology were not in attendance, the competition was just as fierce.

Just as last year, the margin of difference between delegation awards, large and small, was razor thin. McLean High School (VA) squeaked past West Windsor Plainsboro High School South (NJ) to win Best Large Delegation. South walked away with Outstanding Large Delegation, narrowly edging past West Windsor Plainsboro High School North (NJ) and American Heritage Plantation (FL), in an incredibly tight competition.

In the Small Delegation bracket, the difference between Best Small and Outstanding Small came down to a single award. The All-American Model UN Team was awarded Best Small and Elmont Memorial (NY), with an incredibly strong performance in the General Assembly and Economic and Social committees, won Outstanding Small Delegation.

The All-American Team brought 10 students and won the following awards:

  • Gaurang Goel (The Loomis Chaffee School)- Best Delegate, NSA
  • Aditya Iyengar (Thomas Wootton High School)- Best Delegate, Mujibur Rahman’s Cabinet, 1972
  • Robert Hobart III (The Bay School of San Francisco)- Best Delegate, Alliance of Small Island States
  • Michael Dianetti (St. Vincent St. Mary)- Outstanding Delegate, World Trade Organization
  • Christian Rodriguez (Bergen County Academies)- Honorable Delegate, Parliament of Catalonia
  • Lily Liu (The Loomis Chaffee School) & Faiz Syed (George Walton Comprehensive High School)- Verbal Commendation, Social, Humanitarian, and Cultural Committee

For the All-American Model UN Program, it continues a delegation award streak of 13 straight conferences spanning the globe.

How to Win Delegation Awards

Winning delegation awards is no easy task and takes commitment from an entire team. When conferences only recognize four delegations out of as many as 75 schools in the largest conferences, there is little room for error. Here are some common tips we give:

  • Be competitive in every committee. Don’t concede not winning any awards in the large committees and don’t take small committee awards for granted.
  • When every member counts, every verbal is worth gold. While everyone wants to walk away with a gavel, only about 35 delegates at a 3,000+ student conference will win one. That’s a 1.16% random chance, and is likely much lower when you account for skill levels and experience of your fellow delegates.
  • Not everyone has to win an award, and you shouldn’t be (too) upset if you don’t place. Team awards are given to teams, not to individuals. Even if some students don’t win awards, they likely played a massively important role supporting and coaching other members of your team.
  • Don’t play politics or strategy– that is, don’t overthink it. Bring students who genuinely love the activity, debate, and camaraderie. Putting too much pressure on your team to perform will likely result in disappointment.
  • That being said, expect that everyone will give 100% effort. This means working before and after committee. This means not giving up after one or two poor committee sessions. This means not blaming the chair. Everyone should be trying their best for the duration of the conference.

Want to Take Your MUN Game to the Next Level?

If you’re ready to start winning awards, or if you want to change your verbals and honorable mentions into outstanding and best awards, consider applying to the All-American Diplomacy Academy in Boston this July. Or if you’re ready to compete with the All-American Model UN Teams, apply for our WEMUN Expo (Beijing) or HMUN India (Hyderabad) teams.

The All-American Model UN Programs are all about community, development, and support. We’re looking for students that actively want to improve their skills and knowledge. Apply today so we can start working together!

Frank Pobutkiewicz

How We Won 5 Straight Delegation Awards

The last twelve months have been a wild ride, taking All-American teams across four continents and five countries to compete at five conferences– WEMUN Expo (Beijing, China), Harvard Model UN India (Hyderabad, India), Yale Model Government Europe (Budapest, Hungary), North American Invitational Model UN- NAIMUN (Washington, D.C.), and HACIA Summit of the America (San Jose, Costa Rica). By far, this has been the most exciting period in our four year history.

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Frank Pobutkiewicz

All the Right Pieces: Model United Nations of the University of Chicago

Think about every closing ceremony that you have ever attended. At how many of them do you recall the following phrase being boldly asserted: “This is the best conference yet.”

It seems that the “best one yet” proclamation has lost its meaning when every year, at every conference, someone asserts it proudly.

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