News Releases

UWI Students take on the world and win at Harvard National Model UN

For Release Upon Receipt - April 17, 2019

St. Augustine

  Terriann Baker, Asabi Rawlins, Nestor Garcia and Tonicia Williams are all smiles after receiving their certificates at the 2019 Harvard National Model United Nations in Boston, Massachusetts

 “I was equal parts shocked and happy, it was a surreal experience. If you love debating, negotiating, public speaking and finding creative and actionable solutions to the world's most pressing problems, then Model United Nations is the right platform and place to be,” said Nestor Garcia, one of four students of The Institute of International Relations at The University of the West Indies (The UWI), St. Augustine Campus who recently earned top awards at the prestigious Harvard National Model United Nations (HNMUN). The 65th session of the HNMUN which was held from February 14 to 17 in Boston, Massachusetts brought together 3000 student delegates from the most recognised universities around the world.

Founded in 1955, the HNMUN is the oldest, largest and most prestigious model UN. Model UN’s are called “simulations” because they allow students to experience the working life of a delegate. The 2019 HNMUN attracted students from 90 countries. The UWI St. Augustine team included Tonicia Williams, Terriann Baker, Nestor Garcia and Asabi Rawlins. They were part of the larger team that included students from the Mona and Cave Hill campuses. The UWI was assigned the role of the delegation of Kenya.

Williams and Baker represented the World Health Organisation and were announced “Outstanding Delegates” after competing with students from Ivy League schools. A proud Baker said “Harvard National Model United Nations was no easy feat to conquer as students from Harvard, Brown and Yale viciously competed for the awards.”  Williams said she especially enjoyed practicing her negotiation skills while ensuring that the interest of her delegation was well represented, “Meeting and working with students from various universities across the globe also encouraged me to be open-minded and conscious of cultural differences that played a role in the negotiation process.”

Garcia and Rawlins represented the International Organisation for Migration and were awarded the coveted “Diplomatic Commendation” along with three other students from The UWI Mona Campus.  Rawlins explained that the HNMUN strengthens one’s self-awareness, ability to work with others and comprehension of pressing contemporary international affairs, “HNMUN as a ‘simulation’ should not be taken lightly. I was based at the UN HQ in March because of my job, and the parallels between being at the ‘real UN’ and participating in HNMUN are stark. My confidence and public speaking have been improved as has my appreciation for diplomatic processes.”

Dr Georgina Chami, Coordinator of the Postgraduate Diploma at The IIR, Research Fellow and Faculty Advisor for the St. Augustine HNMUN, expressed thanks to the Office of the Vice Chancellor of The UWI for its support and commended the talented students on their stellar representation, “This is a great achievement for the University of the West Indies and our students must be congratulated for their outstanding performance, dedication and hard-work. Congratulations!”

Professor Jessica Byron, Director of the IIR was very pleased at the efforts of the students and Dr Chami to establish the UWI St Augustine UN Club. The club began functioning this academic year and offers new possibilities for personal and intellectual development to all students on campus, “Our students have benefited greatly from this opportunity and have gone from strength to strength, culminating in the brilliant performance of our four representatives in 2019.... My heartiest congratulations to them!”

The St. Augustine Campus via the IIR has been participating in a One UWI team at the HNMUN since February 2017, together with the UWI Mona veterans of ten years in the HNMUN and more recently UWI Cave Hill.




Harvard National Model United Nations (HNMUN) is a simulation of the United Nations General Assembly. It brings together over 3,000 students and faculty together from colleges and universities from around the world. This forum is a unique occasion for participants to experience and tackle the challenges often associated with international negotiation and diplomacy. Throughout the conference, delegates gain insights into the works of the United Nations by actively participating in the resolution of important global issues. Participants not only work with hundreds of other motivated students with the common goals of strengthening international awareness, but also work within a lively social setting.


About the delegation

Terriann Baker

Terriann is 25 years old and currently pursuing a Master of Science in Global Studies at the IIR. She also holds a BSc in International Relations from the UWI. She has a passion for youth development and desires to see youth become leaders in their own right. Attaining the ‘Outstanding Delegates’ award with her partner Tonicia Williams, at the Harvard National Model United Nations competition will forever be etched in her mind. 

Tonicia Williams

Tonicia is a 24-year-old student pursuing a Postgraduate Diploma in International Relations at the IIR. She grew up in Kingston, Jamaica and holds a BA in Psychology from Chapman University in Southern California, USA and has also studied at the University of Cape Town in South Africa. Her international experiences have sparked her interest in diplomacy and development. She hopes to use her studies and professional opportunities to serve in the fields of conflict prevention/resolution and economic and social development. 

Asabi Rawlins

Asabi is 25 years old and currently pursuing a Master of Science in Global Studies at the IIR. She earned a BA in International Relations and Economics from Colgate University in New York complemented by academic stints in China, Switzerland and France. She now works in the area of International Cooperation and Resource Mobilisation with an international organisation and is passionate about sustainable development imperatives. Ms Rawlins prides herself on cultivating a truly global perspective and has travelled to more than 50 countries.

Nestor Garcia

Nestor is a final year postgraduate student, pursuing a Master of Science in Global Studies at the IIR. He completed his BSc in Political Science at the University of West Indies, St. Augustine Campus in 2015. He is an avid reader and martial artist who fervently believes that martial arts cultivate creativity and discipline, which are skills transferable to academia, work and other facets of life. Nestor's main areas of interest are international trade, international taxation, comparative politics, levels of peace and democracy within states and migration policy issues. 


About The UWI

Since its inception in 1948, The University of the West Indies (UWI) has evolved from a fledgling college in Jamaica with 33 students to a full-fledged, regional University with well over 40,000 students. Today, The UWI is the largest, most longstanding higher education provider in the Commonwealth Caribbean, with four campuses in Barbados, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, and the Open Campus. The UWI has faculty and students from more than 40 countries and collaborative links with 160 universities globally; it offers undergraduate and postgraduate degree options in Food & Agriculture, Engineering, Humanities & Education, Law, Medical Sciences, Science and Technology, Social Sciences and Sport. The UWI’s seven priority focal areas are linked closely to the priorities identified by CARICOM and take into account such over-arching areas of concern to the region as environmental issues, health and wellness, gender equity and the critical importance of innovation. 

(Please note that the proper name of the university is The University of the West Indies, inclusive of the “The”, hence The UWI.)