Award winning Model UN team returns from conference with exceptional honors

Award winning Model UN team returns from conference with exceptional honors
At left, standing: Alyssa Clark acting as a prosecutor in the International Criminal Court at the NAMUN conference in Toronto. Seated at right is Pam Gonzalez who is acting as a prosecution witness.
By Kelli M. Titus

Oakland University offers students the opportunity to participate in Model United Nations, an organization that examines the United Nations system and contemporary issues in international politics.

Members of the Model UN enhance their skills in public speaking, study and debate the details of formidable political challenges, and learn to effectively work as a team to pursue solutions.

“They learn to debate, negotiate and think creatively about how to address complex issues in a fast-moving and intense environment,” said Peter Trumbore, associate professor of political science and coordinator of the International Relations Program.

The team learns to discuss and address issues relating to public health, environmental sustainability, international law and global security.

For nearly five years, Oakland University students have participated in Model UN by either taking the course (Political Science 362 Model UN) or by becoming a member of the Model UN student organization. Since its inception, instructors have obtained a better understanding of how to prepare students for Model UN annual conferences, including the Lake Erie Model United Nations conference in Cleveland and the North American Model United Nations conference in Toronto.

“We have had a great deal of success at the Lake Erie conference over the years, winning best team awards twice in the last several years,” said Trumbore. “That success has helped us gain confidence for when we go to Toronto, which is a much larger conference with more students and more universities represented.”

The OU team brought home five awards at the 2014 North American Model UN Conference in Toronto. The event took place Feb. 20-23 and hosted more than 300 students from 29 different institutions throughout the United States.

Seventeen OU students represented the UN Security Council, Disarmament and International Security Committee, World Health Organization, International Criminal Court, UN Environment Programme and the UN Summit on Illicit Substance Trafficking in the Americas.

With five individual awards won, this conference was the team’s best showing to date. The following students were awarded:
  • Jane Dixon – Best Position Paper, UN Environment Programme, representing Australia
  • Alyssa Clark – Best Delegate, Prosecutor, International Criminal Court
  • Pam Gonzalez – Outstanding Witness, Prosecution, International Criminal Court
  • Marissa Coloske – Most Outstanding Delegate, Summit on Illicit Substance Trafficking, representing Chad
  • Robert Larsen – Honorable Mention, UN Security Council, representing Guatemala

“One big change for our team this year is that we had two students serve on the International Criminal Court,” said Trumbore. “We were very happy to learn that both Alyssa Clark and Pam Gonzalez were chosen, and their success is a testament to how hard they worked to prepare and how effectively they played their roles during the conference itself.”

Students interested in participating on OU’s Model UN team should contact Peter Trumbore at or Professor Paul Kubicek at for more information.

 Rob Larsen, representing Guatemala in the UN Security Council at the NAMUN conference in Toronto. Jane Dixon representing Australia in the UN Environment Programme at the NAMUN conference in Toronto.

This is the entire team, taken in the classroom here at OU the day before we left for Toronto. Back row, from left: Josh Rieck, Deniel Forir, Spencer Schredder, Doug Hufnagel, Rob Larsen, Andre Sykes, Ellen Hainey, Julia Vela, Marc DuBuis
Front row, from left: Carly Puzniak, Alyssa Clark, Pam Gonzalez, Marissa Coloske, Karly Koggenhop, Chelsea Manning, Jane Dixon, Drew Lewis.