Group of students

UH Hilo’s 14-member Model United Nations team was named an outstanding delegation at this year’s Model United Nations competition

The University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo Model United Nations team, Hui Na Lāhui Huipū, captured the highest honor at this year’s Model United Nations Competition by being named an Outstanding Delegation. The competition, held at the United Nations headquarters in New York, annually draws nearly 3,000 college students representing over 200 universities and colleges from around the world.

This is the first time UH Hilo has won an Outstanding Delegation award, which is presented to teams that place in the top five percent among the entire field of competition. UH Hilo has turned in strong performances in recent years by winning the second place Distinguished Delegation award four times since 2006, and the third place Honorable Mention once, awarded to teams in the top 15 percent.

“The conference is the National Model United Nations, but in fact over half of the 200-plus colleges and universities were from outside the United States,” said Phillip Taylor, UH Hilo political science professor who served as the team’s coach and faculty advisor. “UH Hilo was one of the smallest schools in attendance, which makes receiving the Outstanding Delegation award all the more remarkable. All members of the team worked extremely hard and contributed to this, and are most deserving of the award.”

UH Hilo’s 14-member delegation was assigned to represent Finland. As Finnish diplomats, they engaged in five intense days of mock UN deliberations presenting their country’s foreign policy positions on 21 issues debated before seven committees. Their preparation also included researching rules of procedure, background and history of the United Nations, as well as refining their skills in speechmaking, caucusing and negotiation.

The team was led by head delegate Greg Conner. Other members of the team include club president Elyssa Correia, business manager Mindy Alles, Krista Aoki, Jeffrey Aurelio, Lea Black, Taylor Coons, Rebekah Duncan, Suilan Hoʻokano, Heather Huffman Ross, Robyn Taniguchi, Kathy Todd, Conan Vierra and Kelli Yamane.