The University of Calgary Model United Nations Team soundly trounced Ivy League schools at the National Collegiate Security Conference in Washington D.C. last week, taking home top accolades as a delegation as well as individual awards for performances in different committees.
"Over the six years that the team has been around at the U of C, it has established itself as an outstanding performer at these conferences," said Nicholas Gafuik, Senior Vice-President of the U of C Model UN Team. "We are well known by Harvard, Yale, MIT and McGill, who are big players in Model UN and debating activities. They know that we work hard and are willing to go for it. We are not intimidated by names or reputations."
This is the team's first year at the NCSC, which is famous for its crisis committees with no set debating agenda. At the conference, delegates are assigned a country to represent in a certain crisis; individual delegates are assigned to different committees like the Security Council, or special political committees. Representing Afghanistan and Iraq was the arduous task that this year's delegation had to face.
"This is not as easy as a sporting event," said Gafuik. "The winner doesn't necessarily pass any resolutions or make any friends. Winning is decided on how you represent your country, its foreign policy, and how you are able to advance it in a difficult debating situation."
In addition to the NCSC, the team travels yearly to Montreal for the prestigious McGill Model United Nations Conference, where they are two-time defending champions. The team's successes certainly reflect well on the rest of the
U of C, which seems to be an unlikely place for such a strong player in the debating world. Excellent support from the university community plays a role in the team's success--and these victories add to the U of C's reputation.
"We have a really good commitment from the university community," said Gafuik. "For this trip, we received financial support from the Faculty of Engineering and the Students' Union."
Winning the team award at the NCSC requires enormous contributions from all of the delegates.
"We have a good sense of team," said Gafuik. "A lot of the other delegations are bigger than ours and can't get to know each other. We become very good friends on these trips because we go through intense, harrowing experiences. Good friendship has been a solid contributor to our success."