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Concordia ranks among the world's top Model United Nations teams

‘Our next step is to be the number one university in Canada’
June 26, 2020
Jonah Guez: “Concordia measures its success through the bonds it has created between the delegates.” | Pictured: Concordia Model UN members at Harvard University.
Jonah Guez: “Concordia measures its success through the bonds it has created between the delegates.” | Pictured: Concordia Model UN members at Harvard University.

College rankings are a common way of measuring the success of Model United Nations teams across the world. This year, Best Delegate rankings placed Concordia 24th in the World Division of Model UN college teams. It’s the second year in a row that Concordia has finished in the top 25.

Concordia was granted a number of prestigious awards throughout the season, but many members of the team say the most rewarding parts of participating in Model UN are the numerous benefits for the students who take part.

Jonah Guez, Jamie Fabian and Samo Čebular share their personal and academic experiences as Model UN team members.

'Concordia Model UN brings so much academically and socially'

Concordia Model UN members at Dawson College.

What is your Model UN role and how long have you been a part of the team?

Jonah Guez: I joined Model UN during my second term at Concordia. I accumulated two and a half years in the organization as a delegate while also being president as of May 2019. I'm responsible for the students who travel to conferences and compete on behalf of Concordia. I make sure that everything is in order so that delegates and the board of directors can do their jobs without running into problems. I also sit on the board of directors of Concordia’s Global Affairs Association.

Jamie Fabian: I am a head delegate for the Concordia External Delegation. I joined the team in my first term in the fall of 2019 and have been active ever since.

Samo Čebular: I joined Model UN in the 2018-19 year as a delegate, and last year I held the position of head delegate for the team.

Why did you join Concordia Model UN and how has it added to your university experience?

JG: Concordia Model UN brings so much to the table academically and socially. As a delegate, being able to travel to conferences and debate against and with the highest-ranked universities in the world has helped me sharpen my expertise in debating, resolution writing and research skills. It has given me many contacts with other universities and students in North America.

As a president, the managerial side gave me the experience of successfully running a non-profit association. Concordia prides itself on the performance of its delegates, but it measures its success through the bonds it has created between them. In simpler words, the Concordia Model UN team is a family in and out of conferences. Team members are people you can count on and the friendships go beyond university.

JF: I was heavily involved in Concordia Model UN throughout CEGEP and enjoyed the experience. From the get-go of university, I was sure that I wanted to continue and have never looked back. I cannot overstate how important Model UN has been for my university experience, especially socially. I have been able to make so many friends in different fields that I would have never otherwise come across, and continuing in Model UN has allowed me to develop many valuable relationships.

SC: I joined the team to meet new people. I heard about the activity a bunch of times before that, but I didn't realize how prominent it really is in the North American collegiate circle, especially in the United States. It has added to my university experience in more ways than I could ever imagine. It helped me vastly improve my presentation and speaking skills, critical thinking and soft skills in general. You really learn how to read people well. In addition to that, I met most of my closest friends in Montreal on the team.

What are the benefits for the students who take part?

JG: Challenging yourself brings out the best in us. Being able to switch from mostly written academic classes to a more oral and open way to learn helps relieve the stress that university may put on students. Conferences are also a way to challenge yourself while helping others, as well as broadening one’s perspective on the issues of the world and how to deal with them.

JF: First and foremost is the real-life experience of working in a quick-paced environment and having to operate in ways that closely mimic the workplace, such as work deadlines, modifications and developing success strategies. It is also extremely beneficial for developing negotiation skills and enabling students to think on their feet. All the while we’re improving networking skills in creating contacts throughout North America that will be invaluable for years to come.

SC: Team spirit is very strong, so personal connections are amazing. Plus, there’s an incredible improvement in soft skills.

Concordia Model UN members at McGill University.

How do you feel about placing in the top 25 college teams in the Best Delegate rankings?

JG: The spectrum of what qualifies as success in Model UN varies from team to team, yet it has been overwhelmingly accepted that academic performance and level of competitiveness can be measured through the college rankings given by Best Delegate. While self-accomplishments and self-approval are mandatory for success, those feelings are only more justified when complemented with outside recognition.

This is why the team is very proud of this year's outcome. Ranking top 25 twice in a row (second in Canada) shows that our working methods are sustainable and that last year’s rankings were not an exception. It validates our work, justifies our time and gives us motivation to strive for even better. It also shows that with motivation and passion, Concordia is capable of rivalling the top schools in North America. It’s a huge accomplishment that every delegate can be proud of.

JF: The experience has been both humbling and motivating. To have achieved such an accomplishment required extraordinary amounts of work and dedication. We must continue to train hard to maintain and improve our reputation as a top 25 school and to ensure that we only continue to go up in the rankings.

SC: It feels awesome. Knowing that every award we've won has contributed to this ranking, it really shows how hard everyone on the team works. The fact is, if you want to win an award at these conferences, you really have to put in a lot of preparation, be at your best throughout the entire four days of the conference, network hard and manage work-sleep balance. At the end of the day, the tougher the competition is, the better it feels winning an award.

Samo Čebular (right, with teammates at the University of Pennsylvania): “Model UN helped me vastly improve my presentation and speaking skills, critical thinking and soft skills in general.” Samo Čebular (right, with teammates at the University of Pennsylvania): “Model UN helped me vastly improve my presentation and speaking skills, critical thinking and soft skills in general.”

What do you think it is about Concordia’s team that helps you guys stand out and be such strong competitors?

JG: There are two types of teams that experience academic success on the circuit. The first succeeds thanks to competition within the team itself — pinning delegates against each other, comparing them to each other while praising individuals for their success. This inward team competition has had much success, but, in exchange, teams have had to sacrifice their cohesion.

Concordia strives to be the perfect opposite. Every delegate plays a part in the success of another and awards are won as a team. We cheer the loudest for our teammates and are genuinely proud of them when they succeed. This pulls the whole team up and creates a sense of respect between the delegates. Other important keys to success are the clear and simple values of the organization. We’re an all-inclusive, merit-based team. Any Concordia student can join as long as they show passion and effort.

JF: Our strongest asset is undoubtedly our team unity. Our core delegation from last year had many bonding experiences, which allowed us to help each other outside the committee and positively affected us in committee. Our ranking could not have been possible without each member of the team, and I consider every award we received to be a team effort as much as an individual one.

SC: In my opinion, there are two things: demanding try-outs, which weed out people who are not serious about being a part of the team, and an incredible team spirit kept throughout the entire competition season.

Jamie Fabian: “Model UN has allowed me to develop many valuable relationships.”

What do you see in the future for Concordia’s Model UN? What’s next for you?

JG: For the team, the outcome of this year's rankings is a challenge for the years to come. There seems to be a general consensus that delegates are far from satisfied and eager to prove their worth. It's important to note that 80 per cent of the team were first-year delegates, and now, with experience, who knows how far we can go.

The challenges for next year will be integrating new delegates to the team and making them feel at home as soon as possible; working around the limitations that the pandemic has imposed; and keeping up this momentum to hopefully achieve even bigger heights next year.

JF: I hope to stay in this organization throughout my undergraduate degree, helping in whichever way I can. Whether that means continuing as a head delegate or something else, I look forward to the challenges that come my way.

SC: Over the past few years, Concordia has gradually risen in rankings and I am absolutely positive that it will continue to do so. Our next step is to be the number one university in Canada, beating McGill. With the established practices we have, our try-out system, strong team spirit, experienced leadership and the free travel policy, which allows anyone regardless of their background to join the team, I believe it's a matter of when, not if. I will not be joining Concordia Model UN in a leadership capacity this year as I have other obligations inside and outside of the classroom, but I will definitely continue competing for the team.

Joining the team

The Concordia Model UN team organizes two recruitment events each year — one in the fall term and one in the winter. Delegates are selected based on motivation and willingness to learn. Guez says everyone is encouraged to come to the open houses the team hosts, where deeper explanations of the function of the organization and Model UN in general are provided.

Students will also be able to join the Concordia External Delegation team in the coming weeks. Fabian says applicants go through training that culminates in an in-house Model UN training session. From there, the team selects the delegates that show the most potential while being role models based on the values of the team.

Interested students can also keep an eye out for updates on Concordia Model UN's social media pages in the fall.

“I really encourage everyone to apply,” Čebular says. “It was definitely one of the best experiences of my undergrad and I know the skills and friendships I've obtained will help me for a long time to come.”


Find out more about the Concordia Model United Nations team.

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