Benedictine student diplomats receive top awards at Model United Nations conference

May 1, 2015

Lisle, Illinois ~ Twenty-nine students from Benedictine University who represented the national interests of Germany at the recent National Model United Nations (U.N.) conference in New York City were honored with several Distinguished Delegation Awards.

Model U.N. is a simulation of a U.N. session 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 U.N. alumni, has helped students from Benedictine afford the cost of airfare and other incidentals during the weeklong trip.

More than 1,000 Model U.N. simulations take place all over the world every year, but the New York conference hosted by the National Collegiate Conference Association is the largest and most recognizable. Roughly 7,000 students from around the world attend it every spring.

This year, the delegation of Benedictine students received two Outstanding Position Paper awards and the Distinguished Delegation Award for excellence after deliberating on 15 committees with an agenda of 45 of the world’s most intractable problems.

“The delegates emerged as true leaders, gathering together coalitions to negotiate innovative approaches to resolving major global problems,” said Joel M. Ostrow, Ph.D., professor of Political Science at Benedictine and Model U.N. advisor. “However, these awards, while appreciated, do not do justice to the performance of our students. The fact that Germany was so indispensable across the conference speaks volumes about the tremendous effort of our students and their true achievement.”

In May, a group of seven Benedictine students will join more than 600 students from all over China at a Model U.N. simulation at Northwestern Polytechnical University in Xi’an, China as part of an exchange program which began between the two universities in 2009. Students from both schools work together, practice diplomacy and form an international partnership.

The Benedictine students who were members of the German delegation at the 2015 National Model U.N. Conference included:

Alex Adkins, Somonauk, Ill.

Safa Aleem, Bolingbrook, Ill.

Ginan Akel (student leader/head delegate),Roselle, Ill.

Jake Brown, Berwyn, Ill.

Christina Dister, Naperville, Ill.

Quentin Florido, Chicago, Ill.

Juan Garcia, Aurora, Ill.

Greg German, Fort Wayne, Ind.

Sam Ortega-Guerrero, Oak Park, Ill.

Irsah Hayat, Lombard, Ill.

Ashley Hernández, Plainfield, Ill.

Brian Hernandez, Arlington, Va.

Shantell Hernandez, Plainfield, Ill.

Stefan Herron, Springfield, Ill.

Qyle Iftikhar, Darien, Ill.

Malak Issa, Woodridge, Ill.

Elizabeth Johnston, Lansing, Mich.

Maya Kanaan, Bloomingdale, Ill.

Wafa Madni, Aurora, Ill.

Karina Magana, Cicero, Ill.

Kellen McCullum, Evergreen Park, Ill.

Ryan Poro, Darien, Ill.

Sarah Ray, Elk Grove Village, Ill.

Andrew Rainville (student leader/head delegate), Frankfort, Ill.

Yara Rashad (student leader/head delegate), Orland Park, Ill.

Stephanie Rhinesmith, Glen Ellyn, Ill.

Joseph Sanders (student leader/head delegate), Bolingbrook, Ill.

Samantha Wilcox, North Riverside, Ill.

Feifei Yang, Dalian, China.


Benedictine University is located in Lisle, Illinois, just 25 miles west of Chicago, and has a branch campus in Mesa, Arizona. Founded as a Catholic university in 1887, Benedictine enrolls more than 5,000 students in undergraduate and graduate programs. Forbes magazine named Benedictine among "America's Top Colleges" for the eighth consecutive year in 2018. Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission ( For more information, contact (630) 829-6300, or visit

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