They are among the best debaters and public speakers in the country, and last weekend (February 19-22) the Converse Model NATO team brought home another string of national awards to prove it.
Essentially, the Model NATO National Conference held at Howard University in Washington, D.C. is a simulation of the proceedings of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, combined with pre-conference study and embassy briefings. Each participating institution represents a member state of NATO in the areas of nuclear planning, defense planning and political-military relations. The Converse team represented the Czech Republic and Belgium.
The Converse delegation representing the Czech Republic placed #1 in the overall competition. The younger Belgium delegation received Outstanding Delegation Honorable Mention. In its five years competition in Model NATO, both Converse delegations have won every year. Other colleges and universities represented at the conference included Georgetown University, Howard University, Edinboro University, University of British Columbia, Trent University (Ontario, Canada), Kent State University and The Citadel.
Converse is one of the three sponsoring institutions, along with the Howard University Ralph J. Bunche International Affairs Center and the Kent State University Center for NATO Studies. The NATO Officers Training Center at the National Defense University is an institutional partner.
Converse senior Megan Madison of Chester, Virginia served as Secretary General. "In a long line of distinguished Converse Secretary-Generals, Megan set a new standard that will be hard ever to emulate," said Converse faculty advisor Dr. Joe Dunn. "To say that she was fabulous would be to grossly understate her performance. Everyone at Converse should take great pride that we can produce someone with that kind of leadership presence."
Katelyn Ridenour, a Converse senior from Spartanburg, served as Assistant Secretary-General and chair of the North Atlantic Council. She will be next year’s Secretary-General.
Other chairs were Anna Owens, Political Affairs Committee (junior from Sumter, South Carolina); Ridgley Beckett, Nuclear Planning Group (junior from Easley, South Carolina); Karlen Senn, Working Group on NATO Operations (sophomore from Gaston, SouthCarolina); and Ashton Lesiak, Defense Planning Committee (junior from Mauldin, South Carolina) who was also voted Outstanding Chair.
The Converse Czech Republic delegation was named Outstanding Delegation in all four committees. Katie Moore (senior from Moore, SouthCarolina and Zareen Khan (sophomore from Islamabad) gained particular distinction for being the team leaders of the Outstanding delegations in each of their committees and also being cited for the Leadership award in their respective committees.
Dunn cited Sarah Moser (senior from Mooresville, North Carolina and co-head delegate for Converse Model Programs) for her leadership in the North Atlantic Council and the model of leadership that she set for the entire Converse delegation, and Chelsey Boggs (senior from Blythewood, SouthCarolina) who not only won the top delegate award in her committee but also worked with Madison to compile the 50-page Final Communiqué that went to the Summit session of the North Atlantic Council.