College Model UN Preseason Rankings

by KFC on September 21, 2011

Harvard-Yale. Duke-North Carolina. USC-UCLA. College rivalries are epic and are meant to be fun.

College rivalries exist in Model UN too. Think of the large powerhouses: U. Chicago vs. U. Penn vs. Yale vs. Georgetown. Or the fierce rivalry between Venezuelan schools Metropolitana, Catolica, Simon Bolivar, and UCV. Or Florida State against the rest of the state of Florida.

We enjoy observing these rivalries in Model UN and therefore we have divided all of college Model UN into two divisions: the World Division and the International Division. The two divisions reflect the two circuits that has evolved in college Model UN. We’ve further divided each division into regional leagues to capture regional rivalries.

Check out where your school is ranked — or vote in our polls for each league below!

Editor’s Note: Our Preseason Rankings is our only opportunity to be a little bit subjective — most of these predictions are done by one writer, Kevin Felix Chan. We’ll go back to a more objective formula of weighted rankings (plus combined Top 25 Rankings) once we have some real results in. 

World Division

The World Division is made up of schools that primarily attend university-hosted conferences in North America and tend to emphasize competition and creativity. They often view conferences such as HNMUN, WorldMUN, and UPMUNC as their major conferences. The World Division is divided geographically into eight leagues. (Sports note: leagues reflect geography and competitive equality; teams were not placed automatically into their actual athletic conferences except for the Ivy League). 

Ivy League

U. Penn has the best chance of winning the Ivy League and perhaps even the global #1 ranking. It attends more conferences than almost every team on the circuit and it always fields a large delegation at each conference, and that ambitious scheduling already gives it an advantage over large delegation rivals U. Chicago, Yale, and Georgetown. U. Penn star delegate Alex Haber is away studying abroad in the Fall, but head delegate Roashan Ayene has a deep bench of young talent to work with including Jocelyn Perry, Yadavan Mahendraraj, Phill Venice, Johnathan Mell, David Schwartz, and Alice Xie among many others. 

Yale only goes big and often wins big, but it will have a tighter margin of error this year. HNMUN is expected to weigh significantly more than UPMUNC this year, so they’ll have to win that conference for a chance to be ranked #1. Like U. Penn, Yale also returns a ton of veterans including Eesan Balakumar, Frankie Costa, and Sibjeet Mahapatra and it should have the talent to challenge U.Penn and others for the global #1 ranking. Harvard should be in contention for a delegation award like always although co-head delegates Rodolfo Diaz and Chris Lehman will have a challenge of preventing burnout in the program as Harvard students can staff up to six conferences this year. Columbia is returning a solid roster including star delegate Chuck Roberts and should challenge West Point for Best Small Delegation honors. Cornell is up-and-coming and will compete for Top 25 status under the leadership of head delegate Ankur Bajaj. The bottom of the league is weak though — many teams in the “Atlantic 10″ league could go head-to-head with Princeton and Brown, and Dartmouth has yet to make an impact on the circuit.

Sports analogy: The Model UN Ivy League is somewhat like the college football Big XII in terms of competitiveness. It is lopsided at the top with several elite teams but the bottom isn’t as strong. We can also extend the analogy to unequal funding — the top teams in this league have a significant advantage by hosting large conferences that finance their travels which leads to a competitive disparity not unlike how unequal revenue sharing in the Big XII helps cause the same result.

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“Big East”

The Big East is probably the most competitive league from top to bottom and features seven teams that were ranked at some point last year. Georgetown is in a class of its own — it’s stacked with head delegate Jagmeet Singh and top delegates like Dane Shikman, Arun Avva, William Handel, Eitan Paul, Michael Lopesciolo, and Peter Nesbitt — and should win the league, but it has its sights set on something bigger: a #1 ranking. They will have to win big at their largest conferences again to accomplish that since they are the only top-5 program last year that did not attend HNMUN or WorldMUN.

Competition after Georgetown should be interesting. Rutgers and George Washington will compete for top-10 status. Clark is good but needs consistency outside of HNMUN to finish in the top half of the league. NYU is rising fast and Boston University is on the rise too as both teams are starting to consistently see multiple award winners. McGill is a traditional power that had a down year last year, but head delegate Keagan Tafler should have enough talent on the team to help McGill climb back closer to the top of the league. Mount Holyoke returns several veterans who were out studying abroad last year and should also contend in the top half of this league after barely missing the Top 25 last year with a relatively young team. Don’t sleep on SUNY Geneseo, Colgate, Pace, or Boston College either — they’re all just a few more awards away (compared to last year’s performances) from breaking into the top half of the league as well.

Sports analogy: The Model UN Big East is somewhat like the college football SEC in terms of competitiveness. The league is stacked from top to bottom with well-regarded teams and finishing in the top half of the league is always a challenge. The college football SEC also has a reputation for scheduling cupcake teams as breaks in their tough schedules and similarly many of the Model UN Big East teams find relief by not attending HNMUN despite being geographically closest to it.

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“Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC)”

The ACC should be a fun league to watch with eight teams that were ranked at some point last year; a balanced league of equally-competitive teams; and real-life rivalries such as William & Mary-Virginia, Duke-North Carolina, and Florida State-Miami. Florida International is the pick to win the league after impressive performances at HNMUN and NMUN last year. Advisor Ray Hernandez has been guiding the team’s rapid growth and if they can field another deep team of strong delegates like they did last year, then it shouldn’t be a surprise if they can pull off a global top-5 ranking this year.

William & Mary will have something to say about Florida International winning the ACC though and should also be a favorite to win it. Emory will remain competitive, and we expect a maturing Florida State team led by star delegate Sara Dejam to challenge for a high ranking nationally. Delaware flew under the radar last year and is a darkhorse to pull off some upsets against more well-known teams. Miami needed a strong last-minute finish last year to get ranked and lost several good seniors — will it have enough firepower to stay in the top half of the league? UNC Charlotte and Duke are knocking right on their door and both have what it takes for a top-25 ranking. Old Dominion should be competitive as well. Navy and North Carolina will need to step up their game, and Virginia needs to make significant improvement from last year.

Sports analogy: The Model UN ACC is somewhat like the college football Big Ten in terms of competitiveness. The league is relatively balanced and deep with many solid teams that have national recognition but may have trouble beating elite teams from other leagues in head-to-head competition.

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West Point is to Model UN what Notre Dame is traditionally to college football — dominant and nationally revered — and that’s why it’s in a league of its own. Despite not sweeping the competition last year, West Point was still good enough to take home its fair share of Best Small Delegation awards to achieve a top-5 ranking. The team graduated a strong group of seniors though, and it will be interesting to see if a young West Point team that returns solid delegates in Elizabeth Constantino, Ross Boston, and Warren Geary can hold off the rapidly improving small delegations such as Columbia and Rutgers.

Sports analogy: We already made the West Point – Notre Dame analogy, but to take it further, Notre Dame has struggled recently in college football — will West Point face a similar scenario with its young squad?

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“Big Ten”

The University of Chicago should be a favorite for the global #1 ranking again and shouldn’t have trouble winning the Big Ten. The team graduated several strong seniors, but it also returns many of their top delegates — Rohan Sandhu, Mrinalini Ramesh, Ben Smithgall, Clementina Lopez, Mark Mahvi, and Clara Spera come to mind — and will renew their rivalries with U. Penn, Yale, and Georgetown for Best Large Delegation honors. The team looked virtually unbeatable last Fall — will it start the season in dominating fashion again?

Michigan State has emerged as a clear second-best team in the Big Ten and as a top-10 team nationally and returning star delegate Tom Nally will look to retain that position or perhaps challenge for a even higher national ranking. Case Western is a solid team, and Washington University in St. Louis is also competitive. The rest of the league is decent but it’ll be difficult to see how they stack up nationally as they do not get enough exposure in the Midwest. Toronto-Scarborough seems to have the best chance of emerging from that pack that includes Miami of Ohio, Carleton College, Oberlin, Kenyon, St. Thomas, and Queen’s University. Penn State will need to improve if it wants to keep up with the rest of the league.

Sports analogy: The Model UN Big Ten is somewhat like the college football Pac-12. U. Chicago is like what USC traditionally is in college football — they’re a nationally elite team that dominates a league that may occasionally have a second national contender but is otherwise average in terms of competitiveness.

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The Pac-12 has some solid teams but they will need to travel outside their region to prove it to the rest of the circuit, especially since the UCBMUN conference seems to be in some down years in terms of competitiveness. Fortunately for the league, WorldMUN is in Vancouver this year and that will be a huge opportunity to showcase the West Coast to the rest of the circuit. Berkeley was the best in the west last year after several late-season wins and should be the favorite again this year. Co-head delegates Shannon Thomas and Hayley Malcolm will lead a Berkeley team that also includes returner Tristan Parker.

However, Berkeley’s win is far from guaranteed. Claremont McKenna, UCLA (led by Bhavna Mukundan and returns Chris Janney and Ethan Scapellati), and Texas (led by Courtney Lee and Alex Mackey) should also challenge for winning the league. UC Davis (led by Samantha Rahhal) is good, but Lethbridge, Air Force, Pomona, and UC Irvine aren’t far behind with previous successes at major conferences and the race to finish in the top half of the league should be a close one between all the aforementioned schools. The Colorado School of Mines and Pitzer should win some awards as well. Stanford had a down year last year and it’ll be curious to see if they can bounce back all the way to more familiar territory at the top of the league.

Sports analogy: The Model UN Pac-12 is somewhat like the college football ACC. The relatively balanced league has a few strong teams at the top with national recognition but most of the league including its best teams is having down years recently.

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“Southeastern Conference (SEC)”

The South isn’t particularly strong in Model UN and don’t have any major conferences within its territory when you don’t count the coastal Southern states, but nevertheless Model UN is alive and growing. Vanderbilt (with returners Andrew Maguire and Sarah Sagan) and Tulane are the two teams to watch in the SEC and should contend for top-25 rankings.

Alabama (led by Valerie Walters) is a solid third behind those two, but afterward it’s anybody’s guess as the gap between Washington & Lee, Clemson, Mary Washington, George Mason, Furman, and American isn’t very big at all. Traditional SEC schools like Georgia, LSU, and Florida will need to step up their game if they are going to help make a name for their league.

Sports analogy: The Model UN SEC is somewhat like the college football Big East. The league can field one or two teams in the bottom half of the Top 25 rankings but overall is the weakest among the Big Six / BCS leagues.

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“Atlantic 10”

Like the ACC, this is a very balanced league and it should be fun to watch the rivalries develop in this mid-major league. The College of New Jersey and Kutztown are the favorites for now, but most of the teams in this league are equally competitive — Tufts, Wellesley, Seton Hall, Hofstra, Roger Williams, Drexel, Gettsburg, and Buffalo could all win the league. Maryland and SUNY Plattsburgh are not far behind either. The teams that can go beyond relying on their few stronger delegates will be the ones that finish in the top half of the league and can get consideration to break into the bottom half of the Big East or ACC next year.


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“Mid-American Conference”

The Mid-American Conference is a mid-major league that consists of Midwestern schools that are also equally competitive with each other. Wilfred Laurier is the favorite by a thin margin as Pittsburgh, Guelph, Northwestern, Duquesne, York, and Toronto (main campus) should all contend for winning the league — Northwestern and York in particular have relatively strong talent on their teams already. Slippery Rock, Oakland, Kalamazoo, Lake Forest, and Wisconsin-Madison should all win a few awards this year. The better teams of this league can get consideration to be placed into the Big Ten next year.


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International Division

The International Division is made up of schools that primarily attend organization-hosted conferences and tend to emphasize accurate representation instead of competition. They often view NMUN as their major conference, although several schools also attend HNMUN or WorldMUN. The International Division is divided geographically (for the most part) into seven leagues. 

North America West, North America Central, and North America East

Brigham Young, Wisconsin-Oshkosh, and Texas Christian (as well as Florida International which we’ve placed in the World Division) are the current powerhouses in the International Division. In the West League, look for Montana, JCCC, Colorado, UCSB, UCSD, and Washington to all make a move for a higher ranking. In the Central League, Wright State and Alma College have been consistently good, and Baylor should have the talent to challenge for the top spot in the league. Patrick Henry College leads the way in the East League with Georgia State, Rider, and Bridgeport as darkhorses to move up the rankings.

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Western Europe, Central Europe, Latin America, and Asia & Africa

MUN Society Belgium and United Netherlands are two of the world’s best teams and should be the top two teams in a strong Western Europe League. Will they get a chance to go head-to-head this year at one of the major global conferences or perhaps at a European conference? University of Passau is the favorite to win the Central Europe League, although the Italian Diplomatic Academy and Bonn have the potential to challenge them this year. Passau’s conference partner, the Lahore University of Management Sciences, is the favorite to win the Asia & Africa League.

Finally, we should expect the fierce rivalries between the four Venezuelan powerhouses to continue in the Latin America League. Metropolitana is the current favorite after winning Best International Delegation at HNMUN last year for the first time, but its Venezuelan rivals UCAB, USB, and UCV will work hard to surpass each other at HNMUN, NMUN, and perhaps even WorldMUN this year.

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  • Matt Kindy

    Just… wow. Some of these rankings are seriously questionable O_o

    • Trevor_rbrtsn455

      Yeah! Why wasn’t Rice ranked higher!?!?!?!?

      • Kevin Felix Chan

        Rice was not high on my radar as I did not see its name on our collected awards lists and the formal awards lists published by the conferences and unfortunately our team has not met any of their delegates yet. Which conferences will they be attending this year?

  • Guest

    That’s a lot of circuits. I think one of the disadvantages is that you’ve broken up a lot of the good schools. IE: who’s going to compete with Georgetown in that conference?

    • Kevin Felix Chan

      I could’ve created a super league (similar to the Big East basketball conference) with 16 of the best teams in the eastern half of North America e.g. Chicago, Georgetown, Ivies, etc. but I decided against doing that. They’ll all be aggregated together into the familiar Top 25 Rankings once we have real awards results to work with anyway.

      • Wingskinner98

        Hey guys,

        I know you’ve gotten plenty of flack for doing these rankings so I just wanted to change things up and say thank you for taking the time to put all this together. Regardless of whether people disagree with this stuff, or think that it’s too much like NCAA football, or don’t like rankings at all, I gotta give you props for doing it. As someone who loves the idea of rankings because of the exra competitiotn it gives to the circuit, I just wanna say thank you. I look forward to seeing the top 25 come together once the conferences actually get started…

  • Katie

    I’m sorry guys but this is horrific. Really, really horrific. You don’t even know the correct NAME of some of these schools, and you clearly haven’t done your homework on some of them. You’ve never attended some of the conferences you are using to base the rankings on more than once – if ever, and aren’t taking into consideration the regional conferences which in some parts of the country are better than you could even believe. I used to think you were marginally intelligent, if not misguided, but now I really question your ability to understand the actual purpose of Model UN and the lay of the land. You have clearly overstretched yourselves and should stick to doing what you know best – reporting on sub-par conferences filled with ivy league schools and rich kids. Stop while you’re ahead. Seriously, just stop.

    • Yadavan

      Let’s get really angry and belligerent about *Model UN Rankings*. Nobody knows the Model UN lay of the land better than KFC and Ryan in the sense that they’ve been to more conferences (different conferences) than anyone…
      I often object to specific things about power rankings but this is a better job than anyone else will do. The best way to actually make these better is to offer *constructive* commentary on why you think their rankings are incorrect. Then they can explain their assumptions and it seems a little less absurd (though you may still disagree).
      At the end of the day, just keep perspective…it’s Model UN rankings, I can understand being upset about your school being ranked incorrectly, but you’re going a little far. I promise a small island nation won’t explode…

      • Kevin Felix Chan

        Agreed on constructive commentary — we took many of the recommendations from the comments left on our first set of rankings for colleges and high school and incorporated those ideas to improve our next set of rankings to match the criteria that a majority of delegates thought was more appropriate.

        And if a school is not ranked high — well, I would suggest publicizing your accomplishments. We try to be fair, we try to understand different circuits, we try to meet leaders for all types of teams (actually we tend to meet a lot of leaders from newer teams looking for advice) and we scan articles about Model UN on the web all the time. We’ll catch you hopefully sooner than later if your team is good.

        • Katie

          All of the schools I participated in MUN with are “ranked” and quite highly within their “divisions” actually, some higher than they should be, which is what grounds my assertion that you guys don’t actually really understand the lay of the land. It isn’t MY school that I’m frustrated with – I think overall the idea of ranking something makes it competitive when so many schools don’t think it is. It isn’t bitterness, it isn’t being jealous that some random school is arbitrarily ranked higher or lower or whatever, it is that the entire audacity of two people to try to group the entire MUN community through their narrow lens of MUN as a competition is beyond me. I think it is indicitave of the mindset of the authors and other readers that my anger is immediately identified as because I was “ranked low.” Orr, it could be about the entire concept and idea..

          I DO think MUN has an incredible, powerful and emotional impact on so many people, so thank you to whomever that was who commented earlier mocking the “mystical purpose” of MUN. You clearly were the person talking loudly from the womb, thus you wouldn’t understand the personal impact it has on people – ranging from veterans returning to school and trying to find a space to discuss international issues, students who have debilitating shyness and only begin talking from going to conferences, future leaders who cut their teeth as secretary of a MUN team, and staff members who connect with like-minded people whom become their husbands/wives/best friends, etc. It means so much to so many people – and not in a competitive way that making it all about “winning” is to me incredibly sad. And also really angering, as I’m sure you can see from my earlier post.

          • Machine_Gun_Funk


            I wish you would have replied to my post first. You said “I think overall the idea of ranking something makes it competitive.” This sounds like something NMUN tries to say to justify their awards philosophy and is one of the main reasons they have such a ludicrous system. On to your post:

            First things first, stop trying to attribute meaning to Kevin and Ryan’s actions. Your first flaw is that you call their efforts to standardize/rank this process arbitrary. You are livid that the BD team would have the audacity to endeavor to try and group together different schools through the prism of competition. Is that all that you think their efforts are about? I invite you to read throughout all of their posts so that you can see the painstaking efforts that they go through to try and get this process as correct as possible.

            I agree that Model UN has the ability to impact so many people. I think your error is that you conflate this impact with MUN’s central purpose and, through some twisted logic of your own, confuse a necessary with a sufficient condition. In order to have a Model UN conference, you don’t need the impact you are talking about. However, to have a Model UN conference, then you must have awards, which means you have winners and losers. The point at issue here is that your working definition of MUN is out of context with what Model UN is actually about. The overarching purpose for Model UN conferences isn’t to bring people together so that they feel good about themselves. Its about money and awards. Feeling good about oneself can be a byproduct of many events during a Model UN conference, winning, of course, being the most obvious one.

            What you are trying to do now is call out some people in the circuit without calling out all of those delegates or conferences who rely very much on the competitive side of Model UN. NMUN and the rest of the organization based conferences would like to make us all believe that they are the good guys and the evil Ivy League Circuit are the bad guys. Something to the effect that: ‘They care about winning, while we care about the learning experience that you leave here with.’ While this may be true on some level my question is thus: why don’t NMUN, AMUN, SRMUNC, FMUN, and other similar conference have zero award tiers? You know, as in zero Outstanding, Distinguished, and Honorable Mention delegation awards. The same goes for position paper awards. I’ll tell you why they won’t because half of the schools that can win these awards will not return. Look at the press clippings for proof. Alma, BYU, UC Andres Bello, TCU, Wright State, and UCV all make claims about their academic institutions worth through their Model UN success at NMUN. Schools such as Alma and BYU even go far enough to claim that they are national Model UN forces, which is actually kind of comical.

            Finally, I think that the unfortunate reality is that in many ways organization based conferences similar to NMUN go out of their way to keep their rules as is so that they can keep certain schools out of their conferences. As much as the Ivy Circuit doesn’t want to go to NMUN, NMUN equally does not want these schools present. The real issue here is that both circuits would rather perpetuate a myth of academic and intellectual supremacy when in reality they are both equally about collecting delegate fees and herding in the cattle (participants). What I will give the Ivy circuit over NMUN; however, is that the STUDENTS have the power. NMUN type conferences are run by a bunch of middle aged and old fogies who attempt to micromanage every last detail, including the emotion of victory. Moreover, they tend to revert to the role of disciplinarian during conferences and treat delegates like children, instead of as young adults and delegates. Let the kids have fun and enjoy their experience on their terms. Attempting to make everyone feel like a winner isn’t advancing Model UN’s purpose, whatever that might be, and is instead watering it down.

          • Guest

            Have you been to NMUN? NMUN is staffed by people in their 20s, including a lot of current students and a lot of former NMUN delegates. Many of those staffers now work for the UN, major NGOs, in academia, etc. – but are still close enough to their experience that they haven’t become too separated to engage and understand the delegates. There is a Board, which I’m sure has some supervisory role and hires the SG or something, but all of those people are also advisors and UN professionals, and they aren’t doing any of the day-to-day stuff – most delegates don’t see them until they stand up at closing ceremonies.

            Also, NMUN IS a lot of fun, it really is. It just also adds, you know… an educational aspect. Shocking, I know, for those of you raised on “Model UNITED NATIONS involves simulating a bunch of Cabinets, and not the UNITED NATIONS that’s in the name” or another similarly self-contradictory system of thought. Oh, and I can tell you one other thing. NMUN would LOVE to have Ivy League and other schools there. There’s no attempt by NMUN to turn them away. I’ve actually asked some of the higher-ups there this very question when I was at my first NMUN as a delegate, because I noticed there weren’t any “big name” schools there. That was when I thought there was a direct correlation between the reputation of the school and the quality of their MUN team…

          • Kevin Felix Chan

            I think the latter point is a reflection on the different philosophies, rules of procedure, cultures, and awards criteria at the two different types of conferences. Schools can use whatever reason they want for not attending the other circuits’ conferences but ultimately most of them would not win awards like they normally do if they jump out of their comfort zone because the conferences are just so different. It makes schools like FIU, Catolica, etc. even more impressive that they can win big at both HNMUN and NMUN.

          • FSUowns

            What is your obsession with FIU? I know you guys would like to believe that they are good, but they are not. Everyone in Florida knows that it is all about FSU and the U. FIU is garbage.

          • Kevin Felix Chan

            I’m just going by last year’s results for FIU:

            4th place behind Yale, Chicago, and UPenn among American universities at Harvard National: (confirmed with official tally)

            and essentially 1st place at NMUN with an Outstanding Delegation plus 12 for 12 Best Delegates:

            Of course, you could make an argument that HNMUN and NMUN are not the most competitive conferences at the college level, but still, those awards are pretty impressive and even more impressive given that schools rarely compete at both HNMUN and NMUN (two different philosophies).

          • Kevin Felix Chan


            The rankings is only a small part of what we do (although it does catch a lot of attention). Most of the time we focus on everything else you’ve mentioned including how Model UN changes lives and how Model UN is an inspirational experience. Watch these keynote speeches by us at Model UN conferences — we actually like to think we fall into the same camp as you.



      • Guest

        I would LOVE to see KFC’s “MUN resume” and see how many conferences he’s been to. That’s part of the “methodology” I called for in my original post. And I’m not talking about “showing up and watching,” but “substantive participation” as a delegate, chair/director, or Secretariat member. I’m not saying this to say he hasn’t been to a lot – I just don’t know, and would love to know that the person who’s making subjective guesses – and they really are guesses – at who’s better and who’s worse – has a truly profound understanding, based in experience, of the MUN world. I think we’re assuming a lot based on the fact that they have a website, unless they’ve posted it somewhere else and I just missed it (I’ve looked).

        I know people that have been to over 100 conferences as a delegate or staffer. If these guys come close to that combined, I’d be surprised, but even if they had a nice wide range of experience, that would be great. As I mentioned earlier, METHODOLOGY – explain why the ranking system works (and what it is), and explain why the person making the choices in that system is a good choice.

        • Kevin Felix Chan


          I have been to over 50 conferences as a delegate and a staffer, served two years as Head Delegate on the college level, and served as Secretary-General of four conferences (the largest being 2,400 delegates). I have since observed many more as part of the Best Delegate team where my job is to sincerely learn about different conferences and circuits at the college, high school, and middle school levels. While you may think the former part of my resume is more important, I actually think the latter is equally important if not more important because it allows me to view a very diverse set of conferences. So while I may not have a specialist’s knowledge of a certain region, on average I know all the regions better than any current delegate or staffer could possibly know from their narrow lens of their own circuit. However, I would love to meet someone who has a similarly diverse knowledge of Model UN — I think this person could contribute a lot to sharing and comparing the different circuits and conferences.

          In terms of methodology, here’s the one used during our last official set of rankings:

          Again, these Preseason Rankings are subjective (like I mentioned at the beginning of the article) but then again, they’re based mostly on last year’s results. The World Division (HNMUN, etc.) leagues are basically a broken up version of last year’s Top 25, and the International Division (NMUN, etc.) leagues are basically a geographically broken up version of last year’s NMUN results using gavel awards to distinguish between all the awards of the same tier (e.g. TCU, BYU, Wisconsin Oshkosh won more gavels and got ranked higher than their Outstanding Delegation peers).

          Feedback on our original methodology was provided by readers in many comments left on our original rankings articles and aggregated into a “Rankings Lessons” post here:

    • Kevin Felix Chan

      I agree that there are many excellent regional conferences, but we can only travel to so many with a limited travel budget. Conferences can submit guest articles to publicize their accomplishments and what makes them great and unique — we’ve posted all the ones that have been submitted to us so far. If these conferences and those who attend can share those experiences with the rest of us, then it would be greatly beneficial for the entire community.

      • Katie

        I know a lot of conferences that I’ve worked with don’t want to be linked with Best Delegate, so perhaps that is the issue. I think they’d rather be left out of discussion on the site. I’ll get in touch with them to let you know that. I think a lot of teams feel the same way.

        People don’t do MUN and aren’t part of a team to be “ranked” – it’s not sports. I think many, many teams and students would rather you just not do a ranking. I am being completely honest and KNOW this from the outburst of horror from many schools.

        • Kevin Felix Chan


          That’s fine. Perhaps there are three solutions to this:

          1. We only rank the World Division (HNMUN, etc.) type schools and don’t rank the International Division (NMUN, etc.) type schools. But then I don’t want to hear any NMUN schools complain that they’re not ranked and we’re leaving them out when everyone starts to think the only ranking we do for all those schools who do want to be ranked is supposed to capture ALL of college MUN.

          2. Schools can opt out from being ranked and conferences can also opt out from their awards being considered as part of the rankings.

          3. Conferences can stop giving out awards. Then we have no data to work with. If a conference gives out awards, we will usually find out who won because conference attendees will submit the awards lists on their own even though we never asked for this favor.

          Ultimately our goal is to really create a platform that provides free publicity to conferences. We don’t want rankings to detract from this, so if you think any of the three solutions above or any other ones that you can think of would help, then let us know.

          • Guest

            I think what you guys do with regards to maintaining a conference calendar, and analyzing that calendar, is actually quite good. I think that gives a lot of “free publicity,” as do your reviews and blogs while you’re at them. But this ranking doesn’t seem to help conferences at all, or hurt them – it’s ranking teams, not conferences. Perhaps if you actually had any methodology, this wouldn’t be so angry of a group response, either to specific rankings or the idea of rankings as a whole.

    • Machine_Gun_Funk

      Dear Katie,

      Congrats, Katie! It took less than 12 hours for the first flame to start. Why so serious? Better yet, why so bitter? I honestly could not and cannot keep up with all of your Ad hominems. On to your childish rant: Your post infers that there is some sort of mystical purpose to Model UN. Please enlighten us then and let us know what this purpose is so that we can all conform to this standard. I bet you are an NMUN type of delegate who gets really angry at delegates that act of out character or socially drink while working during conference. Wait, do you go to FSU? Hold on a sec— now I am acting like you. I apologize; this whole personal attack thing is pretty contagious.

      Back to defusing your rage: In case you missed the beginning of KFC’s post, he specifically said that this post would be one of his only chances to be “subjective.” KFC and Ryan have never claimed that their posts or methodologies are perfect. In fact, they have repeatedly asked everyone out in this thing we call ‘the Circuit’ for feedback and advice on how to create a methodology that a. works and b. has as few flaws as possible.

      My question to you: why do you get so angry and take your time to respond to something that is “really, really horrific.” Anyhow, I know you would like to think that that Model UN is all about rich kids and sub par conferences. Moreover, that Ryan and KFC started their company so that they could live the good life, mingle with America’s elite Model UNers, get drunk, and maybe get laid. Fact of the matter is that they have consistently brought us stories about students who have faced considerable odds to participate in Model UN and have sacrificed much of their personal time to cover the circuit. This sure sounds like elitism run a muck to me.
      -_- (Cue the crickets)

      It is pretty obvious that you would rather rip their attempts to standardize this whole Model UN thing, rather than help them with the process. My advice to you: step away from the key board and get a grip. Life can be a beautiful thing once you stop hating it so damn much.

      • Katie

        I think my issue – and the issue of many schools is we don’t LIKE their attempts to standardize – we don’t agree with their philosophy and don’t like their attitudes. We don’t think it should be and we don’t think they should be the ones to do it. See below for my full response.

        • Machine_Gun_funk


          You don’t like their philosophy and don’t like their attitudes? Could it be that you are inferring this to be their attitude (KFC and Ryan), rather than this actually being their attitude? Have you ever even met these guys?

      • Guest

        You’re just jealous that you can’t hold your liquor and still gavel a committee.

      • Guest

        Wait, you don’t believe there’s any purpose to Model UN besides winning awards? What kind of emptiness are you trying to inject into Model UN?

        Model UN is about way more than just that. It builds research skills, writing skills, public speaking skills, leadership skills, negotiation skills, etc. It teaches international affairs to students, also. It makes participants grow as people. If you’ve been involved for more than a year or so, I’m sure you’ve seen this as well.

        I think you’re also missing the point when you mention “The Circuit”, which I’m assuming is another New England-based evaluative mechanism. I think that’s what Katie was referring to as “sub-par conferences filled with ivy league schools and rich kids.” Having been to conferences all over the country, I can tell you that without fail, conferences like UPMUNC and the other Ivy-led ones are ridiculous. One of them simulated the NFL draft, another had karaoke singing in a “simulation” of the Chinese Communist Party or something… it was a caricature of Model UN.

        • Kevin Felix Chan

          Agreed that Model UN is about teaching leadership skills and building future leaders. It’s not just about competition.

          I also think the karaoke singing contest at the Chinese Communist Party teaches a valuable lesson. I heard from another delegate that it’s really sad that the delegate who gaveled made one speech all weekend and basically impressed during the karaoke singing contest and was elected President of the CCP. Well, I would tell that delegate that not all things in life are determined by the way it should be determined. The smartest guy or the hardest working guy isn’t necessarily the one that gets the promotion. Sometimes it’s about popularity or personal relationships. Anyone’s who’s worked in the real world and observed office politics knows this. So perhaps this CCP simulation was merely or unintentionally teaching this lesson. (I also don’t doubt that karaoke as a form of entertainment or fundraising for Communist Party members exists in China).

          • TheGuest

            I suppose that this is the fundamental difference between the “World Circuit” and “NMUN Circuit” – or at least an example that proves there is a difference. The idea of using MUN to simulate something that fundamentally different from the UN (as opposed to, say, an IGO like the African Union, which isn’t in the UN System but still is at least relatively similar in purpose and in international scope & reach) is a good sort of litmus test, I suppose.

            People in the so-called World Circuit are likely to accept, or possibly even support something like that, and might even label it “innovative”. People in the Nationals Circuit are less likely to accept and more likely to reject it as “not real MUN” and of low educational value. Their forms of innovation are still unique, but as opposed to innovating through changing the broad parameters of what defines MUN, they innovate by working within that system and accepting the broad ideas behind MUN and the UN as they have been done so far.

            In my opinion, another core difference, related to this, is the emphasis on “hard security” vs. “soft security”. The World Circuit seems to view the international peace and security mandate of the UN as the all-encompassing goal, with everything else tacked on as afterthoughts. As a result, they are likelier to look at the UN as a failure or an inept body, which makes them (again in my opinion) less committed to the system of the UN being unchanged at a MUN conference. The NMUN circuit, on the other hand, is willing to overlook the obvious failures of the UN with regards to maintenance of peace and security because much more of the importance they ascribe to the human rights, economic development, etc. that the UN system also does. Perhaps this is a fundamental realist/liberal paradigm difference, or maybe just a matter of which is found to outweigh the other.

            As I’m sure you can guess, I come down squarely on the same side as the NMUN people despite having gone to multiple conferences in both “circuits”. As a result, I can’t even stomach the idea of doing karaoke in committee – it just caricatures it to me. It’s almost like American football and Canadian football at this point – regardless of the “leagues,” the rules of the game are different.

  • Guest

    This is perhaps the dumbest article on this website, even considering that this website is now known around the Model UN community as promoting an utterly unscientific methodology of “rankings” in a world where “rankings” shouldn’t even matter.

    KFC, have you even been to a conference where any school from Washington, Oregon, or some others (like Macalester or Montana State) was present (other than NMUN)? Also, are you aware that nearly every team you listed in the Pac-12 are horrible teams? UC Davis is an exception, as are a couple others, but you don’t have them at the top.

    Perhaps if you described – or had – any methodology, or had ever been to a West Coast conference not run by a school with a big name, this ranking would be useful in some way, but without having one to even read, let alone critique, this article is a waste of your time to write, and ours to read.

    • Kevin Felix Chan

      Yep, I competed with Washington and others in the Northwest at the UBC conference twice when I was a delegate and I know there are good schools in the Northwest who could beat my team at the time (UCLA). As I mentioned in the Editor’s note before the rankings, this is just preseason rankings that I somewhat subjectively picked out mostly based on last year’s awards data from the largest conferences.

      Of course, not everyone agrees that rankings should exist in Model UN and we’ve spoken with plenty of leaders who share this view. We understand their arguments but we respectfully disagree as we see Model UN as an academic competition since awards are given out and pretty much any type of competition has rankings or standings. Conferences that don’t give out any awards would emphasize that Model UN is an academic exercise instead of a competition.

      The Pac-12 teams are the best in the West among schools that compete primarily in the World Division (HNMUN, etc.) conferences. The North America West League are the best in the West among schools that compete primarily in the International (NMUN, etc.) conferences. We’re not judging which one is better.

      • Guest

        This is the original poster. KFC, what years were you a delegate (or, for that matter, present) at the UBC conference for UCLA, when you were there with these “Northwest Schools”?

        Also, if you’ve ever been involved with running a conference, you know that there are a lot of pressures to give out awards. Specifically, teams sometimes pressure conferences to give out awards because awards are one of the few ways a team can show their schools’ administrations that they deserve funding, because administrations don’t really care enough to learn about all the great things MUN does outside of the competitive aspect. I’m sure you know this – so please don’t simplify the awards process to “well, they’re giving out awards, so it must be a competition!”

        Finally, the “World Division,” as you put it, is a circuit of generally horrible teams. A mediocre team at a good conference is probably worth ranking higher than an award-winner at a bad conference. This is why I mentioned the need to have some sort of posted methodology that can be critiqued and improved upon.

        • Kevin Felix Chan

          See my other replies to your comments regarding experience and methodology.

          • The Guest

            Thanks, you answered all of them – except one. What years were you at UBC?

    • Guest

      Are you kidding me? UC Davis gets destroyed by Berkeley/Claremont McKenna/UCLA at every conference they go to.

    • :D

      u mad bro?

  • William M-chuang

    Hey Guys this is ridiculous on what you guys are doing!!! As collegiate or even graduate MUN students, I expect more from all of you. Just because a certain ranking doesn’t go your way in preseason or even the fact there is a ranking shouldn’t arouse so much hate. As MUN delegates, I’d really hope you guys can show respect for what KFC and Ryan are trying to do and add critiques. But being rude and basically demeaning all their work isn’t helping you, me, or them. Please be more civilized. I’ve learned a lot from Best Delegate and I respect all its readers, writers, and commenters. Please just keep civil!

    • Guest

      William, you’re basing that off of the idea that you’ve learned something from Best Delegate? Everything you’ve learned from here is likely wrong, at least from these sorts of articles. They may have some better points on some of the others, but there’s a responsibility that comes with writing for the public in a way that’s presented as legitimate, and I think a lot of people think that these articles don’t meet that responsibility. Therefore, it’s totally legitimate to be critical.

      • William M-chuang

        You reserve the right to be critical and that is true. You can’t make the assumption of what they say is wrong. I think this is perfectly legitimate in what Ryan and KFC are doing. The system of MUN is in anarchy. Even a small effort trying to centralize and give some spotlight to some small schools isn’t a bad thing. It’s also a blog so they are free to present the information in which they choose. If you had some respect for anything that they do, you could at least show it.

        • TheGuest

          Actually, I’ve commented elsewhere in the site a LOT. Most of those are neutral or positive. It’s when it comes to rankings or comparisons of the so-called “circuits” of MUN that I usually am critical, though frankly this is probably the first time I’ve been this critical of what these guys do.

          I understand your point about “trying to centralize and give some spotlight to some small schools.” My point is that this website seems set up to do the opposite of that second point – it glorifies BIG, and also BIG-NAME, schools at the expense of small schools. Examples being the constant references to the Ivy League schools’ collegiate conferences as though they’re legitimate or of high quality, when they do stuff like simulate the NFL draft, as well as the rankings here between schools (with the smallest Ivy League school being ranked last, the clear amount of time spent in learning about specific delegates on the Ivy League teams and mentioning them here by name, “Big East” being led by a big-name school, Berkeley winning the “Pac-12”, etc.)

          My issue’s not with the specific rankings, because I am not familiar – and neither is KFC – with every school he’s ranked. But there’s definitely a pattern of favoring larger schools, or “bigger name” schools, over the others. Obviously, there are a few exceptions, most down towards the bottom of the post where categories don’t really include any or many big/big name schools, but it’s the pattern I’m referring to here.

          • Kevin Felix Chan

            Our intent is not to glorify the big name schools and conferences — we blog a mix of both for high school and college — but rather it comes off that way because these big name schools and conferences have been more receptive to us liveblogging their conferences and consequently delegates from those conferences have formed the primary readership base of this website. We would love to have fair representation of all conferences on this website though.

            The two divisions are divided not by big school and small school but rather by different philosophies of doing Model UN. We did not pick “big schools” for Pac12, Big East, etc. Rather, we first divided the entire college landscape by if schools attend HNMUN/ILMUNC type conferences or if they attend NMUN type conferences. Hence the two divisions. Schools just happened to divide that way with larger schools typically attending more HNMUN/ILMUNC type conferences and smaller schools typically attending more NMUN type conferences. Read this article for more info on the divisions:

            There’s a reason that delegates in the World Division (HNMUN etc.) are more well-known to this website’s authors. First, we attended more of those conferences last year. Second, delegates that attend World Division type conferences typically attend more conferences per year than those who attend primarily organization-based conferences. Therefore we not only got to know them but we had more data to work off of — I pulled many of these names by aggregating awards sheets published by these conferences or by individual teams and let their awards speak for themselves.

            There’s no way a small team can be familiar with every school, but it’s much easier when there’s transparent data to work with. All we do is just aggregate that data.

            You’re probably right that we don’t know everything, but maybe that’s not the problem. The problem may be the lack of publicity by conferences/teams or the lack of transparency of awards. My constructive feedback would be to have teams do a better job of publicizing their results e.g. at least have a website where others from your school can see them. Ultimately, we want this platform that we’ve created to be useful for others to share their accomplishments.

  • Amy F

    Hey guys,

    Good stuff as usual. Everyone is going to disagree with everyone else when we are rating team performance based on awards that are chosen by a jury of our peers. It’s inevitable! I’m also glad that Penn is getting the recognition they deserve, although I believe Columbia should be up higher on the Ivy League list. They’ve been kicking @$$ and taking names for at least a year and a half, now, and I think they’ve proven themselves to be not just one of the top teams in their league, but also in the country.

    In other news, looking forward to seeing one or both of you at NCSC this year–I’ll be visiting as an alum on Saturday/Sunday!

    Amy F.

    • Kevin Felix Chan

      I’m covering NCSC this year — hope to see you there!

  • Guest

    This is incorrect. The Southern Regional Model United Nations conferences is one of the largest conferences in the region if not the nation. And the University of Florida has proven it ranks higher than most colleges in the SEC.

    • Machine_Gun_Funk

      Sorry to destroy your world view, but SRMUNC is a bottom-tier conference. Florida, Florida State, Emory, and Miami can all attend, but this says nothing about the strength of their schedule. These schools are looking for an easy victory/award to place on their resumes.

      • TheGuest

        Haha, I love how you claim to know about SRMUN, but you call it “SRMUNC.” SRMUN is one of the largest conferences in the country, for sure – 800+ people at last count. They don’t give out an inordinate number of awards, either, for their size, so it’s not that easy to win.

        (By the way, despite being “Guest” above – I didn’t post the original comment about SRMUN above. So I’m switching to “TheGuest” for ease of differentiation.)

  • Southern Delegate

    Jeez. This mini-flamewar is wild. How many times can we say that “this article is trash?” There seem to be two fundamental criticisms: 1) there should be no rankings for Model UN, and 2) these rankings are wrong.

    In reply to 1), while your team may not see a need for rankings, the great thing is that it’s quite alright. You can foster a culture on your team that sets whatever goals you think are good. Coming from a team that has operated – as a small school – under both the education first and winning first paradigms, I can say that’s not very hard to do. Furthermore, it’s hilarious that you all act like KFC is a perverted villain for wanting to do rankings… Our society is pretty much set up that way, down to where we decide to go to college or what hospitals we think would do the best work. In any competitive environment, there is a desire to have standings, of some sort.

    2) Sure, they might not be perfect. We have a culture in Model UN, at the moment, that doesn’t do a lot to publicize results, and KFC is trying to change that. In the meantime, some teams and conferences will not have representation until we make that info available. From our standpoint, I think that’s a good thing, on balance, since it gets our names out there, gives the activity exposure, and allows us to lobby our colleges for more funding and support (which might not be the case at all schools, but it’s absolutely the case at mine where we have a newer program).

    The other thing is that rankings are meant to evolve. The downside is that you have to start somewhere. If results are more widely available, the rankings inevitably will improve, as well as the way that the website determines who takes what place.

    It’s a shame that when someone tries to offer a service that clearly will benefit quite a substantial portion of our community for free, a couple of haters lose their minds and can’t stop posting. My advice: go to a different website. This service offers no clear, tangible disadvantage to you, unless you give the rankings meaning, which seems antithetical to your point that Model UN doesn’t work that way…

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  • Floridian

    In my personal experience Penn showed poorly at VICS. Their team is carried by a few good delegates, and their head delegates didn’t even place in half of their committees. And I agree, Columbia should be moved up.

    • Delegate

      Penn won Best Large Delegation with 10 of 13 delegates getting awards. 6 best, 4 outstanding. Perhaps you’re thinking of previous years?

      • Deez_Nuts

        he goes to Florida State. what do you expect…

  • allwedoiswin

    lets be real …. these rankings are so wrong. there is no way on gods green earth that georgia southern is better than georgia state. absurd. and besides georgia state, florida atlantic is the only team on that list worth competing against, really. and georgia state kills them every year.

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  • JJB

    Simon bolivar FTW 😀

  • Mari

    Simon Bolivar FTW!!!! :3

    • USA

      Simon Bolivar and the rest of the Venezuelan universities are a joke. Get over yourselves. Everyone that attends HNMUN knows you are shady.

  • Giveusourguides

    SCSY committee guide countdown is on. Will they have the professionalism and courage to apologize to the delegates attending? How many days will it take our friends over at Yale to post the committee guides? They promised us our guides last week and now they don’t have the courage to face the fire.

  • Chris Tomalty

    Interesting – I’d love to see stats compiled on this over time. It was odd to see University of Ottawa on there (which is what I assume you mean by Ottawa) without Carleton, even though Carleton University (as opposed to Carleton College) regularly mops the floor whenever we compete (for example, we both went to Queens, and Carleton came back with all but 1 of the Best Delegate awards. At McMUN they won no awards and we won 3). Interesting stuff! Carleton is looking to build its team to compete with the American schools – unfortunately, conferences are fewer, further apart, and more expensive up here (especially when we come to the States). Hopefully Carleton will benefit from moving from 3 conferences (Queens, McGill, Harvard) to 6 (Queens, McGill, Harvard, New York, Carleton NATO, University of Ottawa Model Parliament).

    As much as such rankings are purely subjective until real data is collected, it’s still interesting.

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