Benedictine student diplomats receive honors at model UN conference

June 4, 2014

seychelles groupLisle, Illinois ~ Most Americans would be hard-pressed to locate Seychelles, a country made up of 155 islands in the Indian Ocean on a map, let alone defend the East African country’s interests as a member of the United Nations (U.N.).

Recently, students from Benedictine put their knowledge of Seychelles to the test, representing the country at a National Model U.N. conference in New York.

Model U.N. is a simulation of the U.N. General Assembly at which college students represent member states to debate pressing issues confronting the world. This interactive learning experience engages young people in the study and discussion of global issues and encourages them to develop lifelong skills such as research, writing, public speaking, problem-solving, consensus building, conflict resolution and compromise cooperation.

Benedictine students have routinely distinguished themselves at the conference over the years, taking home honors for their exceptional knowledge of conference rules and understanding of their country’s various issues. Since 2008, The Diplomacy in Action Sponsorship Award program, made possible by the generous support of john greene Realtor and Model UN alumni, has helped students from Benedictine afford the cost of airfare and other incidentals during the weeklong trip.

At this year’s conference, a team made up of seven students from Benedictine University and seven from Northwestern Polytechnical University in Xi’an, China, received the Distinguished Delegation award and three Outstanding Position Paper awards for their representation of Seychelles.

Northwestern Polytechnical University is a Benedictine University partnership school. Since 2009, students from both schools have worked together, primarily over the internet, to prepare for the conference. The arrangement provides students from both schools with the opportunity to practice diplomacy while forming a true international partnership, according to Joel M. Ostrow, Ph.D., professor of Political Science at Benedictine.

“Our students genuinely cared about and for each other, and this enabled the close working relationship that resulted in the recognition of their efforts in representing the interests of this small island state,” Ostrow said.

Benedictine also received recognition for its independent delegation of 23 students representing the south African country of Lesotho with an Honorable Mention Delegation award and one Outstanding Position Paper award.

“In each of the 12 committees on which they sat, our Lesotho delegates were true leaders, gathering together coalitions to negotiate innovative approaches to resolving major global problems,” Ostrow said. “As was the case with our joint delegation of Seychelles, students from other universities representing other states, consistently sought out the Benedictine delegation because of their mastery of conference rules and impressive grasp of the substantive issues.”

Benedictine University – the fastest-growing University in the country – promises its students an affordable and attainable undergraduate education infused with the Benedictine values, faculty who make student learning their first priority, a support system dedicated to their success, comprehensive preparation to enter the job market, and a caring community in which they can become better learners, leaders and world citizens.

The Benedictine students who formed the Seychelles and Lesotho delegations at the National Model United Nations conference were:

Ginan Akel, of Roselle
Jimmy Moffitt, of Clawson, Mich.
Ariya Siddiqui
Christina Dister, of Naperville
Mady Gabriel, of Aurora
Rebecca Socha, of Chicago
Julio Lopez, of Plainfield
Andy Rainville, of Frankfort
Joe Sanders, of Springfield
Alex Adkins, of Somonauk
Ayesha Afsar, of Hanover Park
Jade Beadle, of Lemont
Michael Boguszewski, of Roselle
Genevieve Borowski, of Chicago
Quentin Florido, of Chicago
Justin Glavanovits, of Lisle
Shantell Hernandez, of Plainfield
Qyle Iftikhar, of Darien
Maya Kanaan, of Bloomingdale
Omehabiba Khan, of Glendale Heights
Zara Khan, of Carol Stream
Paul Kulhavy, of Darien
Roman Mohammed, of Bolingbrook
Mahira Musani, of Bolingbrook
Meghan Nolan, of Bensenville
Yara Rashad, of Orland Park
Stephanie Rhinesmith, of Glen Ellyn
Sara Riegel, of Bonfield
Elisabeth Shinstine, of Burbank
Richard Singletary II, of Cary
Mason Williams, of Addison
Michelle Yasmine, of Carol Stream


Benedictine University is an independent Roman Catholic institution located in Lisle, Illinois just 25 miles west of Chicago, and has branch campuses in Springfield, Illinois and Mesa, Arizona. Founded in 1887, Benedictine provides 55 undergraduate majors and 17 graduate and four doctoral programs. Benedictine University is ranked No. 1 among the country’s fastest-growing campuses between 2001-2011 in The Chronicle of Higher Education’s list of private nonprofit research institutions, and Forbes magazine named Benedictine among “America’s Top Colleges” for the third consecutive year in 2013. Benedictine University’s Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) program is listed by Crain’s Chicago Business as the fifth largest in the Chicago area in 2013.

Marketing and Communications

Gary Kohn
Assoc. Vice President of Marketing and Communications
(630) 829-6095