Rollins Model UN Team Nabs Top Honors

Rollins garners 13 awards, besting all other universities in international competition.

(L-R) Sandiago Cardenas ’16, Avani Mooljee ’16, Jiayi Hu ’17, Guillermo Ortuno-Crespo ’14, Nina Houston ’15, Camilo Garzon ’15, Alejandro Pavajeau ’15, Aniruddh Fatehpuria ’17, Julia Porcher ’15, and Leo David ’16 (L-R) Sandiago Cardenas ’16, Avani Mooljee ’16, Jiayi Hu ’17, Guillermo Ortuno-Crespo ’14, Nina Houston ’15, Camilo Garzon ’15, Alejandro Pavajeau ’15, Aniruddh Fatehpuria ’17, Julia Porcher ’15, and Leo David ’16

The Model United Nations team of Rollins College won 13 awards, including the top two scholarship prizes at a competition held in New York City that drew 1,400 students from 137 high schools, 79 colleges, and 17 countries.

The 2014 Change the World Model United Nations conference gave students a chance to debate and practice dealing with simulated crises at trouble spots around the world. Among the issues were cyber warfare and how the United States and regional powers can cooperate to combat it. 

After observing the rigorous, four-day competitions on topics ranging from landslide prevention around world to social welfare in the Philippines, the organizers gave first place in the Secretary General Scholarship Award—a $1,000 prize—to Avani Mooljee ’16.

Camilo Garzon ’15 took second place honors and a $500 scholarship prize.

Garzon, who helped revive the Rollins group in 2013, said the Model U.N. remains relevant because of the conflicts and crises that crop up across the globe. “You learn to move quickly. You have to learn where to use your voice and to be understood by many perspectives.”

Garzon first became interested in the Model U.N. while in high school in Bogotá, Colombia. He believes it gives students a chance to learn conflict resolution skills in a high-pressure atmosphere. But students don’t need to be interested in diplomatic careers to enjoy the Model U.N., said Garzon, who is a religious studies major and philosophy minor.

Jenifer Ruby, director of international student and scholar services, is an advisor to the group and accompanied them to New York. She said the conference allowed the students to learn to grapple with complicated issues such as growth and debt in the Jamaican economy and strategies for increasing social and corporate responsibilities in developing economies. “They benefit from team building and learning parliamentary procedure,” Ruby said. “They learn to research current world issues, debate them and lobby for their proposals.”

Ruby said the Model U.N. develops skills that are transferable to many professional settings where employees must speak before groups, argue for approval of projects, cope in diverse settings and resolve conflicts.

The Rollins students represented several different countries and garnered more honors than any other contingent at the conference. Rollins award winners were:

Best Delegation in World Bank by Popular Vote – Santiago Cardenas ’16

Best Delegation in U.N. World Landslide Forum by Popular Vote – Guillermo Ortuño-Crespo ’14

Best Delegation in Security Council by Popular Vote – Camilo Garzon ’15, Rollins Model U.N. president

Best Delegation in World Bank voted by Staff – Santiago Cardenas ’16

Best Delegation in U.N. World Landslide Forum voted by Staff – Guillermo Ortuño-Crespo '14

Best Delegation in Security Council voted by Staff – Camilo Garzon ’15

Honorable Mention in World Bank – Aniruddh Fatehpuria ’17

Honorable Mention in U.N. Commission for Trade & Development – Delegation of Sweden – Julia Porcher ’15, Rollins Model U.N. vice president

Honorable Mention in U.N. Commission for Trade & Development – Delegation of Sweden – Leo David ’16

Honorable Mention in U.N. Commission for Trade & Development – Delegation of Chad – Avani Mooljee ’16

Honorable Mention in U.N. Commission for Trade & Development – Delegation of Chad – Alejandro Pavajeau ’15

Also participating in the Model U.N. conference were Nina Houston ’15 and Jiayi Hu ’17.