The Best College Model UN Teams: World Division –
North America Top 1-5

by KFC on April 7, 2011

The top of the college circuit is fiercely competitive. U.Penn celebrates one of its many victories here.

Which college Model UN teams are the best in the world? The Best Delegate team decided to answer this question with our Top 25 Standings. We had to separate the college circuit into two divisions and devised methodologies for both divisions. We recommend reading the two links before jumping into the standings.

The standings are based on results as of March 21, 2011 which allowed us to capture results from WorldMUN. The standings reflect only team performances at conferences and not the overall quality of the program (i.e. it does not measure if a program hosts conferences or have any other special activities).

Here is the list of the top 1-5 college Model UN teams. These five teams — along with West Point — each have a team of all-stars and consistently win and contend for multiple best delegation awards each season. They have the results across several of the most competitive conferences to demonstrate their success. Check out which colleges made our Top 25!

The Best College Model UN Teams – World Division: North America Top 1-5 Standings (as of 3/21/11)

1. Yale University

Yale won Best Delegation awards at Harvard HNMUN and WorldMUN

Yale can claim to be the best Model UN team in America and in the world. The team started the season in danger of falling out of muncircuit.com’s Mid-Season Power Rankings but won Outstanding Large Delegation at U.Penn UPMUNC over Harvard and Georgetown to boost its profile. The second half of the season was a completely different story — Yale turned up its game to win Best Large Delegation at Harvard HNMUN and Best Small Delegation at Harvard WorldMUN. To paraphrase one of their delegates, “we go to the Super Bowl and win every time.” Yale essentially went undefeated at the two most competitive conferences on the circuit and own head-to-head victories over each of the top five teams at the most competitive conference where they faced off. The strength of their delegation awards put them at #1 just ahead of the University of Chicago. Yale’s head delegate is Eesan Balakumar and their star delegates include Filip Savatic, Alex Klein, and rising star freshmen Frankie Costa, Ali Friedman, and Seth Kolker.

2. University of Chicago

U.Chicago celebrates one of its many Best Delegation awards with the SCSY Secretariat at Yale

The University of Chicago absolutely dominated in the first half of the season and won Best Large Delegation at U.Penn UPMUNC, Best Large Delegation at Georgetown NCSC, and Best Large Delegation at Yale SCSY. The team took its first head-to-head loss to Yale at Harvard HNMUN but still captured Outstanding Large Delegation at Harvard HNMUN. Chicago also won awards at Berkeley UCBMUN. They placed a very close second to Yale in these Standings — the strength of their total delegation awards were nearly equal but the real tiebreaker was Yale’s more heavily weighted head-to-head win at Harvard HNMUN. Nevertheless, Chicago is still widely recognized as one of the powerhouse teams on the college circuit and they have plenty of accomplishments to celebrate this season. Their head delegate is Sean Mirski and their star-studded team includes ChoMUN Secretary-General Aynur Taskan, Ben Smithgall, Rohan Sandhu, Mrinalini Ramesh, and Nick Duque.

3. University of Pennsylvania

U.Penn attends the most conferences and has plenty of awards to show for it

The University of Pennsylvania is tied with West Point for scheduling a season-high nine conferences. The team earned plenty of accolades this season — they placed 3rd in terms of overall awards won at Harvard HNMUN, won an Outstanding Large Delegation at Georgetown NCSC, won an Outstanding Large Delegation at Yale SCSY, and won Best Large Delegation at Berkeley UCBMUN. The team also performed well at smaller conferences: they won Outstanding Large Delegation at Boston University’s BarMUN, placed 2nd at Princeton PicSIM and won awards at Columbia CMUNNY. While their overall score is not as high as Yale’s or Chicago’s at the moment, they do own head-to-head victories against both at some point in the season, and will challenge for a higher placing in the final, end-of-year Standings when results from Virginia VICS and NYU’s NYUMUNC get factored in. Their head delegate is Roashan Ayene and their star delegates include IAA President Poorvi Kunzru, Brittany Elliot, Manfred Collado, and Alex Haber. Alex is also a front runner for muncircuit.com’s HeisMUN award after winning Best Delegate in the competitive KGB committee at HNMUN and winning Best Head Delegate at VICS among other awards.

4. Georgetown University

Georgetown won at McMUN

Georgetown is widely respected as one of the best teams on the college circuit — and teams are familiar with Georgetown’s “Hoya Saxa” chant due to their consistent wins. Georgetown won Best Large Delegation at McGill McMUN, Best Large Delegation at Columbia CMUNNY, and placed tied for 3rd at U.Penn UPMUNC in terms of total awards won so far this season. The team will get a chance to boost its overall resume with results from Virginia VICS and NYU’s NYUMUNC. Their head delegates are Eitan Paul and Arun Avva, and their team of all-stars includes NAIMUN Secretary-General Jagmeet Singh, GIRA President Brandon Butterworth, Grant Gibson, Dalton Dwyer, and Max Stoiber.

5. Harvard University

Harvard won Best Small Delegation at NCSC

Harvard barely edged West Point to make it into the top five on the strength of awards won. The team won Best Small Delegation at Georgetown NCSC to give them a head-to-head victory over West Point, and augmented its resume by placing tied for 3rd place in terms of overall awards won at U.Penn UPMUNC, placing 3rd at Yale SCSY, winning an Outstanding Large Delegation award at Columbia CMUNNY, and winning awards at Berkeley UCBMUN and Boston University’s BarMUN. The team will have one more chance to solidify its standing when it competes at U.Chicago ChoMUN later in April. Their head delegates are Peter Bacon and Keshava Guha, and their star delegates include Rodolfo Diaz and Carlos Bortoni.

Check out the rest of the standings: top 6-10top 11-15 and top 16-25, and international top 20!

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Congratulations to all the schools for their success so far this season, and good luck with conferences in April and May. We’ll be releasing our final 2010-11 season standings after all major conferences have taken place at the end of May.

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What do you think about the schools that made our Top 25? Let us know in the comments! We’ll also start an open thread to hear feedback on methodology on Friday.

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  • Hayes

    Totally called the Top 5, but not the order. Makes me wonder what the scores will look like at the end of the Season. But the rankings over all are impressive. I’m surprised that UMiami didn’t make the list, but I guess their performance this year just hasn’t been as high as in the past.

    And does anyone else wish there was a conference run by a third party where all ten of the top schools could compete against each other, head to head?

    • Hayes

      Also, do you take into account that it’s literally impossible for Harvard to compete in the two most heavily weighted conferences? No love-lost for Harvard, they can clearly hold their own. Just wondering.

      • KFC

        Yes, we had to take this into consideration. If Harvard won Best Large Delegation at all the conferences they attended (SCSY, NCSC, UPMUNC, etc.) then we wouldn’t be able to deny them a higher placing even though they wouldn’t have the points earned from HNMUN and WorldMUN. We didn’t have to make that exception though since that didn’t happen.

        Also, if you threw out HNMUN and WorldMUN for Harvard’s sake and compared the next three strongest delegation awards, Harvard would still place lower than all the teams above it (except Yale since their results are primarily derived from those two conferences) although the scoring differential would be a lot closer.

    • KFC

      Miami is in our Top 50. I personally thought they would’ve made the Top 25 too based on reputation and how many of their delegates I know, but the numbers didn’t work in their favor when we ran it. Their performance this year hasn’t been as high as in previous years.

      There is a third party conference: NMUN in New York. Almost all the schools on this list of Top 25 (save for FIU) choose not to attend though.

      • Frank

        Hey KFC,

        This isn’t intended to be a flame, but the University of Miami really hasn’t done much in the last 3 years. I mean UM isn’t even close to being the best team in Florida. Lord knows they’ve tried to step outside of NMUN, but haven’t done so well. The standings are pretty accurate in that regard.

        -Frank Truman

  • Anonymous

    I disagree, I do believe these teams are qualified for the top 5, but Georgetown consistently wins awards year after year, Yale only recently has preformed well. Both are deserving of the top 5 but it is should read Chicago, Georgetown, Harvard, Yale, Penn.

    • KFC

      These standings are only for this season’s (2010-11 school year) results up to March 21st, 2011. They’re not meant to be power rankings of teams over several years.

  • ???

    The thing is, at the end of the day, Yale goes to three conferences: UPMUNC, HNMUN, and WorldMUN. The big difference with these conferences is that they are heavily weighted with GAs and ECOSOCs instead of the focus of most MUN conferences, crisis committees. If anything, one should consider how close HNMUN was, whereas at a conference like SCSY UChicago cleaned up.

    For me, my list would be: UChicago, Georgetown, Harvard, Penn, Yale

    At the end of the day, Yale needs to start going to more conferences; otherwise, a team like UChicago or Georgetown could start deploying Mirskis or Petersons all the time and end up with similar results

    • Slick Rick

      I see where you are coming from by stating that Yale only goes to three conferences, but the fact is that they won at these three conferences. If they had not won at two out of these three, then they would not be ranked as high. Remember, as unfair as the ranking might seem to UChicago, if these standings would have been released last year, then the methodology would have yielded their school being first. From my perspective, UChicago has had one of the more unreal runs in recent circuit history. Most importantly, they participate at HNMUN- the most competitive collegiate Model UN Conference- and within the last year won best large delegation.

      The Crisis Committee fad is getting annoying. HNMUN, UPMUNC, and World MUN do the best job of keeping Model UN in context. The whole crisis committee movement is diluting Model UN. I know people are enamored with attending conferences debating Jesus vs. Satan, Harry Potter, or Lord of the Rings, but what in the hell do committees like this have to do with working towards solving serious global issues. My main issue with the circuit right now is that a lot of schools in the top 25 perform great when discussing some of the most ridiculous committee topics on the circuit, but do poorly when dealing with real world committee topics like those found at UPMUNC, HNMUN, and World MUN.

      The two untouchables in the rankings are Yale and UChicago. Penn is back to traditional form. Georgetown is a bit overrated. Harvard will always be Harvard. For what it is worth, my top 5 are:

      1. Chicago 2. Yale 3. Penn 4. Harvard 5. West Point

      • Anonymous

        I also agree that the crisis committee at the collegiate level is getting slightly ‘annoying.’ I don’t think there’s necessarily a problem with the model of crisis committees but there has recently seemed to be a race among many crisis oriented conferences to see who could come up with the wackiest (read: unrealistic) committee ideas. If a crisis focuses on real-world realism, I would argue it doesn’t dillute the traditional MUN model in the slightest.

        I agree that traditonal GAs and ECOSOCs should be given their fair weight in determining what school has a top MUN program though. From just a pure percentage standpoint it’s most difficult to perfrom well in GAs given their size as opposed to a 15-20 person crisis. Gaveling in a GA means performing better than as many as 350 people.

        Along these lines, I take slight issue with Rick’s rankings and in particular his dismisal of Georgetown. Georgetown has in recent years performed exceptionally well in GAs, this year gaveling three of the four UPMUNC GAs and two of the three McMUN GAs (and did not attend HNMUN or WorldMUN due to scheduling conflicts.) This is not to take away from any of the other programs and I do tip my hat to Best Delegate for really trying to but together a fair criteria. Of course, any ranking will be somewhat subjective based on what a particular individual values. Hopefully, at the very least, Best Delegate’s efforts will force MUN Conferences to be much more transparent with award calculations and lists.

        • Mi Tu

          I have to agree, the crisis concept has spun pretty wildly out of control. Don’t get me wrong: I competed on the circuit for five years, and for only one conference was I ever in a non-crisis committee. But that’s what I was good at. A well-run crisis can be extremely educational, especially at the high school level, despite the trepidation I’ve heard from many high school advisors. College crises do benefit from that lack of oversight for lack of a better word, since they’re allowed to be more flexible in choosing their subject material.

          That said, one of the things that I do appreciate about UPMUNC, despite it being a less than perfect conference in many, many respects, is that they still have the traditional GA format. A lot of schools decry GAs as being cash cow committees, there only for the purpose of getting more delegates to attend. But they are an integral part of the UN experience, and should be kept whenever possible. I shudder to think what would happen if high school conferences started to phase out GAs for crises. If the advisors didn’t revolt, I’d doubt their committment to teaching. A crisis on NATO dealing with Russia is great. A crisis dealing with the President’s senior staff is alright. The Ministry of Magic is too far for high school, and pushing it for college.

          Just some random thoughts.

          • Wes

            This might not apply to you completely, but I have never met anyone in almost 6 years of college model UN (long story) who preferred GAs over crises who didn’t admit to being much better at GA debate than in a crisis committee. What makes a good GA delegate is vastly different than what makes a good crisis delegate, so it’s hard to frame the debate neutrally. Although I think some fantasy crises are unnecessary and distract us from our focus on debate and policymaking in international regimes, there is a genuine dislike for GAs because many MUN folks did only GAs in high school and the scenarios presented tend to become redundant and frustrating. Not to mention, crisis committees are much better policymaking simulation for MUNners who are planning on working for governments, inter-governmental organizations, NGOs and think tanks and academia rather than the few who want to seek a career with the U.N. itself.

            On the topic of rankings, at the “World Division” level it seems (increasingly, in recent years) that the schools who hold conferences in that division attend and succeed at other schools within that division. Since we’re basing the rankings on awards, which are in a sense peer reviews by the host school. Nepotism (and hooking up with chairs) wins gavels as easily as having debate skills and having prepared for the conference. I don’t see how we can even rank schools effectively when everyone outside those top ranked schools knows private school back scratching decides who attends which conferences with which positions (and we know the right position can often be a shoe-in for an award) and who wins awards and best delegation.

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  • KFC

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