Model UN Program

Department of Political Science

Applying skills learned in the classroom to real-world scenarios is the goal of experiential learning at UT. Students in the Department of Political Science excel at this endeavor thanks to the Tennessee Model United Nations program.

The Model UN is a team of students who travel across the United States to discuss and debate international topics with students from other universities. Taking their knowledge of current world affairs, students work as delegates of various nations. In competition, students develop solutions to real-world problems. During the 2017-18 campaign year, the Tennessee Travel Team finished in the top 50 of the North American College Model UN World Division Rankings.

“Our team has put forth tremendous effort to become formidable in such a competitive circuit,” said Charles Briones, senior in political science and president of the organization. “Our success puts us in the company of universities such as Georgetown and Harvard as top Model UN programs. Our ability to compete well against these teams is due to the courses and support in the UT political science department.”

Model UN team

Another component of the program is the Volunteer Model UN conference, a three-day conference for high school students. The conference is a chance for delegates to conduct conversations on international relations and explore solutions to global problems. It also has the added benefit of being a great recruiting tool.

“The Volunteer Model UN is an excellent bridge for motivated high school students to visit campus,” said Jonathan Ring, lecturer of political science and program advisor. “We have connections with numerous high school clubs who compete each year. Many students are so impressed that they end up coming to UT and joining our club.”

Students who end up as Vols are among the most active students in the political science major. As alumni, they continue to have strong connections to the organization, department, and the university.

“My primary goal for the program is to provide a forum to let students’ natural enthusiasm for learning and need for socializing loose,” Ring said.

Members of the program are highly motivated and well organized. They learn valuable skills, such as public speaking, debate, research methods, and professionalism, as well as build strong friendships and a lasting connection to the university.

In the end, Ring wants to ensure the club maintains an open door to new students interested in joining the Model UN.

“I hope it continues to socialize younger students to become the organization’s future leaders,” Ring said.