This week all the attention is on their finals, but just a few weeks ago a group of Austin College students had their full attention on human rights issues, the environment, intellectual property, and nuclear weapons—from the viewpoints of citizens half a world away in Jordan and Mauritania.
The students were participants in the National Model United Nations conference in New York City, joining some 5,000 college students from around the world in a simulation of the actual working of the UN.
The Austin College delegations came home with Distinguished Delegation honors for Jordan and Mauritania, as well as an Outstanding Position Paper for the Jordanian delegation. Additionally, Jennifer Perrone and Aston Gelat were recognized for their individual committee work representing Jordan on the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.
Delegates must learn all positions of the country they represent, and then represent those positions during caucus and committee sessions, examining real issues of the UN. Alicia Houser and Brandon Stevenson-Matthews were the Austin College head delegates, who are not assigned to committee, but assist all their delegates in preparation of materials and rules of order for the conference.
Austin College has a long history of outstanding participation in Model UN competitions, making a first appearance in 1963. Beginning in 1983, the college annually attended Model UN competitions and has won top honors every year since 1984. In 1990, Austin College students added a fall Model UN conference to their experiences. Students attend the National Model United Nations conference each spring in New York City and have attended sessions in Atlanta, Chicago, Washington, D.C., Hawaii, China, and the Czech Republic.
Participants not only learn a great deal about politics and international relations, but also communication and negotiation, organization, public speaking, and research skills.
The Austin College students participating in the April conference in New York City are listed below by hometown, along with the country they represented; the committees on which they serviced, their parents’ names, and the local high school from which they graduated.
Rachel Dodd, Jordan, Human Rights Council, daughter of Michael and Mary Dodd, Westlake High School;
Kathleen Sams, Mauritania, General Assembly 3rd Committee, daughter of Marianne Wells of Plano, McDonogh School;
Saif Quraishi, Jordan, General Assembly 2nd Committee, son of Taher and Shama Quraishi,Texas Academy of Leadership;
Alicia Houser, Head Delegate, daughter of Bryan and Janice Houser, Canyon High School;
Blair Lenhan, , Nigeria, Security Council, daughter of Helen and Aaron Sallee, South Lake Carroll Senior High School;
Bethanie Livernois, Jordan, General Assembly 3rd Committee, daughter of Betsy and Jim Livernois, Coppell High School;
Daniel Ashworth, Jordan, World Intellectual Property Organization, son of Jay and Lisa Ashwaorth, North Hills Preparatory School;
Kalyn Rabuse, Mauritania, General Assembly 2nd Committee, daughter of Keith and Kathy Rabuse, Ursuline Academy;
Jennifer Perrone, Jordan, Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, daughter of Staci and Robert Schneider, Denison High School;
Kathryn “Kat” Shelby, Mauritania, United Nations Environment Programme, daughter of Don Shelby and Georgia Shelby, Rains High School;
Fort Worth, Texas
Sarah Guinn, Mauritania, World Intellectual Property Organization, daughter of Debbie Guinn and Jeffrey and Pamela Guinn, Southwest High School;
Brandon Stevenson-Matthews, Head Delegate, son of Brigitte Matthews, Lawrence D. Bell High School;
Christopher Stoll, Jordan, World Intellectual Property Organization, son of Scott and Myra Stoll, The Oakridge School;
Ummekulsoom Lalani, Mauritania, Human Rights Council, daughter of Farida and Ashigali Lalani, Colleyville Heritage High School;
Christiana Horn, Jordan, Economic and Social Commission, daughter of Don and Virginia Horn, Horn Christian Academy;
Nadeen Siddiqui, Jordan, General Assembly 1st Committee, daughter of Masoon Balouch, Michael E. DeBakey High School for Health Professions;
Willoughby Smith, Jordan, International Court of Justice, daughter of Patrick and Nita Smith, Liberty High School;
Emma Niewald, Jordan, Non-Proliferation Treaty, son of Elizabeth J. Galloway;
Jordan Newton, Mauritania, 2nd, son of Diana Newton, Azle High School;
Akshara Vivekananthan, Mauritania, United Nations Fund for Population Activities, daughter of Ramesh and Mrinalini Vivekananthan, Mansfield Timberview High School;
Ashton Gelat, Jordan, Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, daughter of Anthony and Jennifer Gelat, McKinney Boyd High School;
Michael Luk, Mauritania, World Intellectual Property Organization, son of Angela Luk, Plano East Senior High School;
Kyle Potaniec, Mauritania, Non-Proliferation Treaty, son of Steven and Debbie Potaniec, McKinney High School;
Mital Shah, Mauritania, United Nations Fund for Population Activities, daughter of Ila Shah and Sunil Shah, McKinney Boyd High School;
Bryan D. Botello, Nigeria, Security Council, son of David Botello of Plano, Texas, and Jesse and Cynthia Alvarez of Allen, Texas, Allen High School;
Shruti Hegde, Mauritania, Commission on the Status of Women, daughter of Ramesh and Sumana Hegde, Plano Senior High School;
Nnamdi Okoli, Mauritania, African Development Bank, son of Isabel Anyanwu of Plano and Edmund Okoli of Westchester, Illinois, Plano West High School;
Haluk “Christian” Oz, Mauritania, General Assembly 1st Committee, son of Orhan K. Oz & Mondrell Oz, Plano West Senior High School;
Aly Tharp, Mauritania, United Nations Environment Programme, daughter of Lane and Donna Tharp, Plano Senior High School;
Sammy Yaish, James Bowie High School, Jordan, Economic and Social Commission, son of Mohammad and Suhair Yaish;
Robert Epps, Mauritania, African Development Bank, son of Lynn and Keith Franklin, Rockwall-Heath High School;
San Antonio, Texas
Megan Luschen, , Jordan, General Assembly 1st Committee, daughter of David and Carol Luschen, Winston Churchill High School;
John “Elliot” Stowers, Jordan, General Assembly 2nd Committee, son of John and Mary Stowers, Home School;
William Griffith, Mauritania, General Assembly 1st Committee, son of David and Carol Griffith, Sherman High School;
Liz Ramirez, Mauritania, Commission on the Status of Women, daughter of Gustavo and Rosalba Ramirez, Sherman High School;
Syed “Omar” Hasan, Mauritania, Non-Proliferation Treaty, son of Syed K. Hasan and Shadan Mansoor, Carroll Senior High School;
Claire LeBlanc, Jordan, General Assembly 3rd Committee, daughter of Fred and Cindy LeBlanc, Tomball High School;
Sugar Land, Texas
Elise Morneau, Mauritania, Human Rights Council, daughter of Rick Morneau and Joyce O’Donnell, Kempner High School;
Daniel Leal, Jordan, Non-Proliferation Treaty, son of Richard and Grace Leal, Plano Senior High School.
Austin College is a leading national independent liberal arts college located north of Dallas in Sherman, Texas. Founded in 1849, making it the oldest institution of higher education in Texas operating under original charter and name, the college is related by covenant to the Presbyterian Church (USA). Recognized nationally for academic excellence in the areas of international education, pre-professional training, and leadership studies, Austin College is one of 40 schools profiled in Loren Pope’s influential book Colleges That Change Lives.