KPU Model UN Club wins five awards at KMUN 2023 conference
The conference gave students the opportunity to hone their debate skills
Editor’s note: Lorne Putman, who was interviewed for this article, is a contributor for The Runner. The Runner acknowledges and has taken steps to prevent conflicts of interest or potential bias from influencing the article.
Kwantlen Polytechnic University’s Model United Nations Club hosted a conference at the Surrey campus from March 31 to April 1.
The topic of debate was Afghanistan’s current humanitarian crises. Fifteen student delegates from KPU attended, and five of them won awards.
Jemma Heathcote, president of the KPU Debate Club, helped bring the Model UN Club together, and says the conference gave students the ability to take part in the debate without having to travel elsewhere.
“Model UN conferences are not the easiest to attend and normally sometimes you have to travel to,. Having it at KPU makes it so that it’s accessible to KPU students and hopefully to other students around B.C.,” Heathcote says.
The conference also aimed to promote more social opportunities on-campus to enhance student life since the return to in-person classes.
“It felt great being able to bring this back to the community and be able to inspire others to enjoy such unique activities,” she says.
Lorne Putman, member of the Debate and Model UN Clubs, won a Distinguished Delegate award. KPU student Navnoor Singh was also a recipient of this award.
“Model UN is something that is really important to me,” Putman says. “I’m very grateful to have won it.”
The award for distinguished delegate recognizes those who are leaders in their committee and can debate strongly against other parties.
Vadym Muraviov, executive of the Model UN Club, received the Most Diplomatic award. Tyler Newcomb was also a recipient of this award.
This award recognizes a person who can negotiate in a respectful manner and gets along with opposing debaters.
“It definitely wasn’t easy to choose who got the awards because everyone was a star in their own way. It was really inspiring to see so many people that were so enthusiastic and really just stepped into their role as a delegate,” Heathcote says.
Other award winners include KPU student Zak Ludwig, who won the Position Paper Award.
The conference also gave members’ insight into real-world topics and debates.
“We chose the situation in Afghanistan because that is a real UN General Assembly topic. Model UN is an academic simulation of the United Nations, so we try to stick to the procedures as closely as possible,”Heathcote says.
“Some were talking about frozen assets in Afghanistan, sending in humanitarian aid, negotiating with the Taliban, it was really a wide range of debate.”
It also gave students the confidence to build the skills they have learned from their club involvement and political science courses.
“[You learn] to speak in the most efficient way and [be] even more concise,” Muraviov says. “It was a free and friendly environment. and promotes future KPU students to join.”
Putman says he gained a lot of experience taking part in the conference.
“Model UN has been the practical application of everything I have been learning over the past year. You really have to sharpen your communication skills. You have to write a lot of speeches and do public speaking, so it is great preparation for the job force,” he says.
“A lot of people that do Model UN are from different countries. I get to indulge my passion for different cultures and [learn] about different people’s perspectives.”
Due to the conference’s success, the club is planning to host Model UN at KPU again next year, as well as take part in a conference abroad.
“Model UN is more than just a fun weekend activity. It teaches you debate, negotiation, research, [and] extends far beyond what it offers. KPU being able to host our own conferences means we can offer something very rich to the KPU community and beyond,” Heathcote says.