The Best College Model UN Teams: 2011-12 Top International Delegations

by KFC on May 16, 2012

Universidad Simon Bolivar celebrates its win at Harvard HNMUN 2012

Which college Model UN teams are the best on the circuit? We devised a rankings system that answers this question in order to recognize the top teams on the college circuit for their accomplishments. We clarify in the article our purpose for doing rankings, our philosophy that drives what we value in the rankings, and improvements in our methodology.

There are three internationally prominent conferences that each draw over 2,000 delegates and feature teams from around the world: Harvard National HNMUN in Boston, Harvard WorldMUN which was hosted in Vancouver this year, and the two-part National NMUN conference in New York City. These three conferences are very different from each other in terms of philosophy, culture, and awards system, and most participants would not classify the three into one circuit. However, using our methodology for guidance, we can determine what some of the best teams in the world were for this season and we wanted to recognize them here. With that said, here are the Top International Delegations!

The Best College Model UN Teams: 2011-12 World Division Final Rankings Top International Delegations

Notes on the rankings and methodology

The three conferences are not part of a circuit, so we had to modify our methodology. Weighted scores derived from individual awards at HNMUN and WorldMUN and Best Delegate awards among Outstanding and Distinguished Delegations at NMUN were used to rank the teams. Full conference weightings were used, but we also gave disproportionate weighting to the team’s best result. Essentially, teams are ranked on their best performance and were given bonus points for winning at other conferences. This was done because it’s not common for teams to travel to more than one of these conferences. Please note that this ranking is for teams that participated at the three aforementioned conferences and does not capture the results of all international teams, especially those that did well within a local circuit (e.g. in Europe).

North American teams are excluded from this list. North American teams have two separate rankings (called World Division and National Division on this website) that take into account all the different conferences within the North American circuits and are ranked based on those cumulative results instead of their best single performance. However, it is safe to say that if we combined the lists for top performances, many of these schools here would place in the combined top 25 or top 50. Note that the term “international” used in this ranking refers to all schools outside of North America.

The Top International Delegations

South America and Europe continue to dominate the rankings. In South America, Venezuelan schools have always been a force on the circuit and this year is no different as they placed in four of the top ten spots. But Venezuela is starting to see some of its South American peers such as Peru, Colombia, and Ecuador rise up too. The conference organizers have taken note, with Harvard starting HNMUN Latin America and NMUN starting NMUN Latin America to meet the growing demand in the region.

The European Model UN hotbeds in the Netherlands and Belgium had been characterized by the highly successful combined national team model — United Netherlands and MUN Society Belgium are examples — in the past few years. But this year, we saw college-affiliated teams such as Utrecht in the Netherlands and VUB in Belgium step up too. Could this signal the beginning of a power shift from national teams back to college-affiliated teams? Besides the Netherlands and Belgium, other European countries that had multiple top teams include the United Kingdom and Switzerland.

Finally, it is notable that instead of one combined Australian Universities delegation, multiple college-affiliated universities in Australia won awards at conferences this year and a few of them broke into the top international delegations ranking. The upswing in the Australian college Model UN circuit is right on time as Harvard WorldMUN 2013 will be held in Melbourne.

The Top International Delegations

1. Universidad Católica Andrés Bello (Venezuela)

Católica won the Best Large Delegation at Harvard WorldMUN this year. The team also won a Distinguished Delegation at Nationals NMUN where it also notably had eight of its delegates voted as best delegate — that’s significantly more than many teams that won the higher-tier Outstanding Delegation award. Finally, Católica also won multiple awards at Harvard HNMUN to complete a rare trifecta of success. Catolica’s success at the diplomacy-oriented WorldMUN and its peer-voted best delegate results at NMUN suggests that Católica wins through cooperation and respect rather than aggression.

2. Universidad Simon Bolivar (Venezuela)

USB won Best International Delegation at what we considered as the most competitive conference in the world, Harvard HNMUN. That delegation award was fifth place overall behind only the highly-ranked American powerhouses: Yale University, University of Chicago, University of Pennsylvania, and Florida International University. USB also won multiple awards at Harvard WorldMUN. Although they placed second in this ranking that uses cumulative scores, USB can claim that they beat top-ranked UCAB in their head-to-head matchup at HNMUN, the most competitive conference were they both participated.

3. MUN Society Belgium (Belgium)

MUN Society Belgium placed second overall at Harvard WorldMUN this year. But that second place was extremely close — they were only behind Católica by one Diplomacy Award and if this ranking didn’t use a cumulative score, they might be right behind the first-place finisher. MUN Society Belgium is the best team from Europe as it has also won Best Delegation at the largest European conference, London LIMUN.

4. Universidad Central de Venezuela (Venezuela)

UCV is consistently good and is among the best teams in the world as shown by their performances at National NMUN as well as Harvard HNMUN and Harvard WorldMUN. UCV won an Outstanding Delegation award at NMUN and finished tied for third place among international delegations at both conferences in terms of weighted score. It is notable that although UCV finished third in terms of weighted score among international delegations and top ten overall at HNMUN, they actually had the highest number of individual awards there among international delegations.

5. Peruvian Universities (Peru)

The rapidly rising Peruvian Universities delegation has already gained the respect of conference organizers as it got to represent a P5 country at Harvard HNMUN this year, and they put that assignment to good use by finishing second among all international delegations and top ten overall in terms of weighted score at that conference. PU also got on the scoreboard at Harvard WorldMUN.

6. Universidad del Rosario (Colombia)

Universidad del Rosario is another consistently good team as it finished tied for third place among international delegations at Harvard WorldMUN (this was tied for a top five finish among all teams) and had multiple awards at Harvard HNMUN.

7. United Netherlands (Netherlands)

The United Netherlands continued to build upon its storied legacy at Harvard HNMUN as it tied for third place among international delegations and within the top ten overall at that conference. UNL tied Metropolitana in terms of weighted score but we gave them the higher rank because they had more individual awards.

8. Universidad Metropolitana (Venezuela)

Metropolitana had high expectations after winning Best International Delegation at Harvard HNMUN last year, and they followed up with a strong performance this year by putting in a top-ten overall finish at the conference.

9. Utrecht University (Netherlands)

Utrecht showed significant improvement this year and they are quickly catching up to neighboring United Netherlands as they finished just one weighted point behind them (and Metropolitana) at Harvard HNMUN.

10. Vrije Universiteit Brussel (Belgium)

VUB is relatively new to the circuit and but has already made its name known after finishing among the top five international delegations at Harvard WorldMUN. This team should be even better as it gains more experience.

11. Lahore University of Management Sciences (Pakistan)

LUMS continues to be the best team from the Asia-Pacific region as it won multiple awards at Harvard WorldMUN this year. Their result put them slightly above the rest of the teams in this ranking.

12-25. (tied) Each of these teams had the same number of awards across all conferences, so it was more reasonable to tier them as the rest of the top 25 rather than rank them individually. The teams are:

  • American University of Beirut (Lebanon)
  • American University of Cairo (Egypt)
  • ETH Zürich (Switzerland)
  • Ghent University (Belgium)
  • Queensland University of Technology (Australia)
  • Royal Holloway University of London (United Kingdom)
  • Sciences Po Paris (France)
  • Universidad San Francisco de Quito (Ecuador)
  • Universität Heidelberg (Germany)
  • Universität St.Gallen (Switzerland)
  • University of Edinburgh (United Kingdom)
  • University of Exeter (United Kingdom)
  • University of New South Wales (Australia)
  • University of Oxford (United Kingdom)

Congratulations to all the teams!

  • Alejandra Perez Escalona

    The Picture on the top is at HNMUN’s closing ceremony… and it is Universidad Simon Bolívar, not Católica Andrés Bello. Católica won Best delegation in WorldMUN

  • Victor Zaccaria

    You should change the caption of the picture…that picture is from Universidad Simon Bolivar when they won Best International Delegation at HNMUN

  • Ryan Villanueva

    Corrected — thank you!

  • Anonymous

    Universidad central de Venezuela also won outstanding delegation this year at NMUN and two delegates won best delegate in their committee. We would really appreciate if you correct that information. Thanks.

  • Anonymous

    ummm nmun is a pretty lame conference. not sure if you know this but the methodology you are linking colleges to is goes to a page with high school conferences. is this for colleges too?

    you say “Catolica’s success at the diplomacy-oriented WorldMUN and its peer-voted best delegate results at NMUN suggests that Católica wins through cooperation and respect rather than aggression.” not sure bout that one. i’ve competed against these peeps and let me just say that they tend to be sketch- REAL SKETCHY (especially at hnmun). i think hnmun needs to go out of its way to prevent these schools from outright working together and turning committee into a latino soap opera. its pretty disrespectful to participants when all these schools start talking smack in espanol and collude. ranking UCAB number 1 is crazy considering that they won 2nd place as a team at nmun. WTF?

    • Guillermo Quiroga Sáez

      When you have a fix exchange rate in your country, in which you cannot exchange dollars freely because you have to ask permission to the government to get a chance to make the exchange from our currency to dollars; a country like Venezuela with a government that does not respect students and constantly restrains and represses universities; where you have to raise the funds for a delegation asking money even in the streets, because enterprises have difficulties (by law) to be full sponsors, because our universities don’t have enough money to support us….then, and only then you will understand what we have to live every single year to get the chance of competing in these top level MUN conferences. And that’s why every Venezuelan delegation always give the 110% of effort. You either go big, or go home, and that’s it. I really invite American and European delegations to come to our conferences (in English or Spanish, as you like) and compete in the same conditions in which we compete abroad…Make your own calculations of WMUN, HNMUN and NMUN…UCAB is #1! VAMOS VENEZUELA!

  • Anonymous

    im kinda over the ‘these delegates come from so far and have to face soooo much adversity to compete’ talk. international delegates and dels from UCAB, Metropolitana, UCV, Simon Bolivar, United Netherlands, Mun Society, and other poor me dels are often from the 1% ballers of their countries and are coming from the best international universities. #sooverit

    • Jose Andres Quintero

      i would like if american delegations could compete at venezuelan conferences in spanish… and actually win (not goint to happen)…. VAMOS VENEZUELA!!

      • Anonymous

        ummmm u do understand that most of the best mun rockstars in the world are latino, go to AMERICAN universities and speak espanol? hahahahaha! so it WOULD happen. keep breaking rules and forming your own spanish cartels at hnmun. its not like its obvious or anything. 😉 hahaha also, this isn’t a world ranking because if it were then an american school would be number 1. #pwnage #dontbebitter

        • Jose Andres Quintero

          good for him… bad for you good luck with venezuelans next time! (you will need it)

    • Carlos Elias Franco Ruiz

      Don’t be such asshole! Venezuelans competing in these things are not the top of the elite. Real elite studies abroad well in other Latin American countries, in the US or in Europe. UCV and USB are public run universities, so that means they are for normal people. They have to go collecting money in the streets just to afford the trip, that’s why they are really into these things. And all the world knows that Americans are ALL A BUNCH OF BRAINLESS (AND PENISLESS) ASSHOLES! So, get over it 😉

  • Guillermo Quiroga Sáez

    hahaha spanish cartels? Are you aware of the internal and intense competition between all the Venezuelan universities to get to the top? Why do you think we don’t have a “MUN Society Venezuela”? Thanks to that internal competition, we have 4 Venezuelan delegations in the top 10

  • Miguel Ruiz Botero

    Really proud to finally see Universidad del Rosario and Colombia where it deserves to be!

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