Model United Nations Program Fosters Confidence, Broadens Horizons
Model United Nations Program Fosters Confidence, Broadens Horizons


by Dave Cranshaw
UNH Today Editor


In his seven years being involved with Model United Nations – including two years at UNH – Chris Haynes, assistant professor of political science, said he’s never been more proud of a team than the UNH group that recently participated in a competition in New York that brought together more than 1,500 students from around the globe. His pride in the group’s accomplishments, though, had little to do with the fact that they again brought home several pieces of hardware. 

“What I see as the best part of Model UN is the remarkable degree of personal and professional growth that it facilitates,” Haynes said. “I saw students that lacked confidence gain it, shy students who would cringe at giving a public speech confidently deliver one, students who knew little beyond New England open their eyes to the world and passive learners take charge of their education and lives.


UNH's Model UN team earned an Outstanding Delegation Award.

"This confidence, these skills and this new reality is what will propel them long after they leave UNH,” he said.

One of those students is Dan Mayotte ’18, a management major. The first day of the program was a bit nerve-wracking as he tried to take in everything that was going on. “The first meeting went by in the blink of an eye,” he said. “I went back to Professor Haynes, and he said I had to be more assertive.”

He did that – and then some – and helped the UNH team, which was portraying representatives of Paraguay, win an Outstanding Delegation Award. “I really put myself out there and stepped outside of my comfort zone,” he said. “I struggled in class with my speeches and worked hard to improve them throughout the semester, and one of my most memorable moments was giving my first speech. So many people walked up to me afterward to tell me I gave a great speech. That felt so good.”

The preparation, Danielle Cuervo ’16 said, began over winter break as the students did extensive research about the people, culture, language, government and economy of Paraguay. After giving her first speech in English, she gave another one later in the conference in Spanish.

The experiences, she said, will help her as she pursues her goal of attending law school and becoming an immigration attorney. “Now I am able to get my ideas out there to a room of people and express my point of view with no hesitation,” she said. “I needed to be pushed out of my comfort zone, and I am glad Dr. Haynes did that for me.”

Lizi Bowen ’19, a political science major, says her first experience in Model UN has taught her not to shy away from leadership roles like she might have done in the past. “The feeling of having your working paper passed as a draft resolution is so rewarding after four days of non-stop hard work,” she said. “I remember getting a bit emotional at the thought that I would have to wait until next semester to have this amazing experience again.”

“So much time and effort had been put into this conference,” added Ethan McGee ’18, an economics major. “To see it all pay off in winning an Outstanding Delegation Award was like winning the Super Bowl.”


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