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Maxwell Student Delegation Honored at Model UN Conference

December 9, 2022

The students received a Distinguished Delegates award while representing the Russian Federation.

A 15-member Maxwell School delegation was honored at the National Model United Nations Conference recently held in Washington, D.C.

The delegation represented the Russian Federation during the annual high-profile simulation of international diplomacy. They were honored with a Distinguished Delegates award based on votes cast by organization volunteers who consider, for instance, how accurately teams represent their assigned county’s diplomatic style.

The Maxwell team also garnered two awards for outstanding position papers. Shay Kinney Leonhardt, a senior majoring in international relations, and Emma Van Ness, a sophomore majoring in political science, were honored for a paper they co-wrote for the Economic and Social Council Plenary. Lily Collins, a sophomore majoring in political science and citizenship and civic engagement, and Corbin Miller, a senior majoring in political science, were honored for their paper, penned for the World Health Assembly.

“Considering the war in Ukraine, it was not an easy task to represent Russia at the conference, but the Syracuse delegation rose to the occasion,” says Osamah Khalil, associate professor of history and chair of the International Relations Undergraduate Program. “They diligently prepared by studying Russia’s history and politics. These awards are a testament to their skills and determination. Serving on the Model UN team provided them with an opportunity to understand Moscow’s perspective on a range of global issues.”

Held in early November, the conference drew roughly 750 college and university students from around the world. They discussed issues at the forefront of international relations and participated in debates designed to mimic how the UN navigates international issues such as security, the environment and development.

The Maxwell delegation was led by Leonhardt, Ahmed AlQubaisi, a sophomore majoring in international relations; Daniel Kolodny, a senior majoring in political science; and Carlos Ruiz, a junior majoring in international relations

In addition to the delegation leaders and position paper honorees, members included:

  • Stephen Brooks, a senior majoring in international relations and history
  • Nathanial Hasanaj, a sophomore majoring in international relations
  • Jeffrey Hoffman, a senior majoring in international relations
  • Sierra Huff, a junior majoring in international relations
  • Nicholas Licata, a junior majoring in international relations and political science
  • Jose Reyes Soto, a junior majoring in international relations
  • Grace Sainsbury, a senior majoring in international relations
  • Shavonne Strelevitz, a sophomore majoring in international relations and geography and the environment.

Delegation advisor Vivian Ike, assistant teaching professor for the International Relations Undergraduate Program, was unable to attend the conference. Tom Bouril, a graduate student pursing a Ph.D. in history, accompanied the team as her proxy.

“Model United Nations does a great job of helping students learn about different positions of countries involved, learning how the United Nations operates and practicing collaborative and debate skills. One of the greatest opportunities Model United Nations offers the students is the appreciation they gain for the research they have done, which really shows the value of Syracuse’s education,” says Bouril.

By Jewell Bohlinger


Communications and Media Relations Office
500 Eggers Hall