Model United Nations Team Going to China


Model United Nations delegates for the fall 2018 China delegation at their country reveal party. Photo provided by Hope Brusstar.

For the first time in its history, the University of New Orleans Model UN team is leaving the country to participate in a Unit- ed Nations simulation. During Thanksgiving week, 13 students and one faculty member will head to Xi’an, the ninth-largest city in China.

“I am so excited about it, I speak about it almost every day to my friends and family,” said Leah Bordlee, the team’s treasurer.

Students from various disciplines and ethnic backgrounds are part of the university’s delegation, which has been bisected this year to represent two different countries: Poland and Turkey. In Model UN, students act as delegates representing their assigned country, discussing matters of global importance with the goal of creating solutions for the greater good. Usually, the delegation spends the spring semester preparing for a national conference in New York City, which lasts the strength of the trip, but this international conference is structured differently, and students will have almost two full days of required tourism, while the conference itself will also be only about two days long.

“The upcoming trip to China is very exciting — and a little stressful!” said team president Daniel Lamplugh. “I think it’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience for our students, to be able to represent both themselves, our university, and our country in Xi’an.

The University of New Orleans has also recently announced a partnership with Xi’an University, an event orchestrated in part by Dr. Michelle Thompson, Associate Professor for the Department of Planning & Urban Studies.

“It all fell together very serendipitously,” said Lamplugh. Thompson visited the students in class last Tuesday to prepare them for the culture shock and discuss the round table that the delegation is scheduled to have with Xi’an students on Nov. 22, a result of the new partnership between the two universities.

“Every Google product is banned,” Thompson informed the class. For the past several years, Model UN students have used Google Drive almost exclusively to share and collaborate on resolution papers during the Model UN conference. There is a way that those inside China can use a virtual private network to resolve the ban, but said Thompson, “I’m a visitor … I don’t want to break any customs.”

A Chinese translator will be present to facilitate the round table, wherein students will bring together their ideas and questions about the United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, a list of 17 objectives the United Nations wants to complete by 2030, including ending all forms of poverty and hunger and finding a permanent answer to sustainable economic growth and energy production.

The Model UN team has been representing the university for almost nine years at the national conference, and it has brought in handfuls of awards.

Said public relations officer Kathleen Mendoza, “I knew this was something that was going to help me build up my confidence in leading, public speaking, and researching.” The current Model UN team is comprised of students who know each other from the New York conference in the spring. “The people you end up working with eventually become like family,” said Mendoza.

Said Lamplugh, “Model UN … allows students to travel to a great place … with a group of like-minded and wonderful individuals … from across the globe. I have slept on the couches of people I have met in Model UN that live in other countries, and created some of my deepest friendships through it.”

Financially, the University of New Orleans is playing a major role in making the trip possible, but fundraising is not finished yet.

“We have been pursuing fundraising … through local business donations, but we are opening a crowdfunding campaign to help … make the trip a reality. If people would like to donate, we would highly appreciate it,” said Lamplugh. The crowdfunding site will be up soon at

Students interested in getting involved in the team for future semesters can contact them at [email protected] More information about the national and international conferences is available at