Model U.N. Wins Yale Best Small Delegation for Third Straight Year

Posted: February 1, 2013

Byline: Katharine Toll ’13, from The Lawrence

For the third consecutive year, Lawrenceville’s Model United Nations team has received the top award for Best Small Delegation at the Yale Model United Nations Conference (YMUN), held January 24-27.

The New Haven, Conn. competition attracted approximately 1,300 students from across the globe. Committees ranged in size from 15 to 200 participants, each organization presenting authentic challenges and crises actively debated within the real United Nations. Topics ranged from South American insurgents and North Korean denuclearization to the proliferation of light weaponry and the status of education in the Middle East. Delegates were required to display a fundamental understanding of their committees’ topics, act in accordance with their assigned nations’ policies, and demonstrate superior writing and oratory skills. Lawrenceville sent 12 representatives, five of whom were first-time delegates chosen based upon performance in a series of simulated debates held on campus.

Co-President Katharine Toll ’13 represented Colombia on the United Nations Security Council, while Gustavo Berrizbeitia ’13 and Isaac Kim ’14 adopted personas of well-known historical diplomats in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the Hong Kong Reunification Board. The remainder of the School’s delegation represented Turkey on various councils and organizations. Co-President Eben Blake ’13 and Fifth Former Josh Claxton collaborated in the Special Political and Decolonization Committee. Emily Egbert ’13 and Philip Smit ’13 debated policy in the Disarmament and International Security Council. Tanzania Brown ’14 participated in the Social, Humanitarian, and Cultural Committee, while Max Lupin ’13 and Shiva Sethi ’13 negotiated in the Economic and Financial Council. Frazer Tessema'13 and Cami Tellez ’15 excelled as delegates to the World Health Organization. Overall, Lawrenceville’s team received awards in seven out of its eight committees.

First-time participant Brown, who received an Honorable Delegate Award, found Model United Nations to be uniquely challenging and complex. “No matter what,” she noted, “there will always be things you can’t prepare for.” Claxton, for whom this was also a first conference, attributed the team’s triumph to the “strong speaking skills [delegates have] established through Lawrenceville’s Harkness methodology. The ability to express a persuasive thought intelligently and articulately in front of a crowd is not just key to foreign diplomacy; it’s an essential trait for life.” Smit agreed, adding that familiarity with the Harkness system “certainly contributed to [his] ability and willingness to speak spontaneously.” He, along with partner Egbert, received a Best Delegate Award.

Veteran member Tessema imputed the team’s victory to meticulous analysis and preparation. “Much of the groundwork for this year’s success lay in the hard-work of Lawrentians in years past,” he noted. “This year’s team was able to collectively reflect upon the successes and failures of prior YMUN conferences to refine strategy, hone skills, and coalesce all available resources into a formidable blueprint for victory.” Tessema and partner Tellez also received a Best Delegate Award.

The club will continue to meet throughout the remainder year and plans to enter a second conference this spring.

For additional information on all Lawrenceville School news, please contact Lisa M. Gillard Hanson, director of public relations, at

Posted: February 1, 2013

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