When the student leaders running Indiana Model United Nations at Indiana University started the academic year, they set two big goals: be the best delegation in the Big Ten and be ranked among the top 25 teams nationally. Anyone who’s met the students won’t be surprised to learn they accomplished both.
Indiana Model U.N. is ranked 21st in the recent World Division Rankings, which uses a cumulative weighted score based on how teams performed at fall 2022 conferences.
“We’re up there with Ivy League schools, military academies and some of the best universities in the country,” said Hayleigh Keasling, a junior in the Hamilton Lugar School of Global and International Studies and Indiana Model U.N. conference coordinator. “We’re so incredibly proud of it.”
Members of IndianaMUN travel around the country to participate in four-day simulations where they’re assigned a country to represent in a U.N. committee. In committee, delegates debate substantive policy issues and will eventually draft resolutions related to their assigned topics. The best delegates receive awards, which contribute to how the team ranks overall.
Preparing for the conferences is a near-constant task. In addition to attending a weekly general meeting, students put together research binders that include information on different countries, including economic data and current policy solutions.
The students involved describe Model U.N. as an intellectual activity that feels like competitive athletics.
“You develop a real competitive fire and a will to never give up no matter what situation you’re in,” said Maan Murad, who is pursuing an accelerated master’s degree in the Hamilton Lugar School and serves as president and chairman of Indiana Model U.N.
In addition to competing at conferences across the country, IndianaMUN hosts its own spring conference for high school Model U.N. teams. The event provides valuable experience to younger students and exposes them to IU, while supporting IndianaMUN’s ability to continue competing. Indiana Model U.N. is a nonprofit organization that uses any money generated from the conference to cover the cost of competing across the country.
Between competing in conferences and planning one of their own, IndianaMUN requires as much dedication as a full-time job for many students. They choose to take on the responsibilities because they’re passionate about improving the world they live in.
“I’m from rural Indiana, so it’s a huge jump; being able to talk about these really big issues on a global scale is something I never thought I could do,” Keasling said. “By the time I graduate I can say I sat on the board of directors of a 501c3.Who else can say they’ve done that?”
Students interested in joining Indiana Model U.N. or volunteering during the 2024 conference can email firstname.lastname@example.org.