FIU’s Model United Nations team has achieved its highest ranking ever, landing second place in North America and beating out every Ivy League team in the country.
The team has advanced steadily in recent years, as noted in Best Delegate, the organization that ranks Model UN teams based on performance.
FIU is now ranked ahead of prestigious national universities such as Georgetown, Harvard and Yale. It is the highest ranked team in Florida and the highest from any public university.
“I am very excited and proud of the program and all the students that worked hard this semester to achieve this ranking,” said Ethan Roberts, director of the FIU Model UN program, a part of the Steven J. Green School of International and Public Affairs.
“It’s always special when you get tangible results from your hard work. That number two ranking is a direct result of the hard work the Model UN students have put in over this semester.”
Although the University of Chicago has ranked number one in the nation for the past three years, Kevin Markowski, a junior majoring in international relations and head delegate for FIU Model UN, said he is determined to put in as much work possible to get the team to number one.
“Being ranked number two in the nation is a great feeling and being above all Ivy Leagues as a public school in Florida is an amazing accomplishment,” he said. “But I’d be lying to you if I said I was content with this ranking. We won’t stop until we are the number one team in the nation.”
Model United Nations programs bring together different universities across the United States, as well as hundreds of college students, with the goal of furthering international awareness and building consensus. The program is designed to build students’ public speaking, analytical writing, negotiations, critical analysis and research skills.
Roberts said the main strategy FIU has used to get to the top is time, practice and working together effectively as a team.
“We’re very team oriented,” Roberts said. “Our team is not just one person giving instructions to 30 people. We share our experiences, success and failures.”
To be part of Model UN, students are required to go through an extensive process, which entails an application and two interviews, in which the student is tested and screened.
“A big part of being part of Model UN is members knowing their strengths and weaknesses,” Roberts noted. “I think you’ve got to be self-critical. When students are a part of a team like this, they have to be open to improving their speaking, writing, the way they research and think about certain things.”
Christian Gonzalez, a freshman majoring in international relations, is a new delegate who says he’s learned a lot from being part of the Model UN team but that he still has a lot to learn.
“I’ve gained so many qualities through my experiences at Model UN. I’ve improved my public speaking abilities and my capacity to work under pressure. But, it’s also ironic that I’ve learned that I have a lot to learn,” said Gonzalez.
For Hatim Bukhair, a senior majoring in international relations, the most important quality he has gained from FIU MUN is confidence.
“I’ve learned that I can do anything I set my mind to. I learned how to walk into a room, make my opinions heard, negotiate and build consensus and move things forward, all qualities needed for my professional life,” Bukhair said.
FIU Model UN members say they hope to prove that the university is a powerful global institution that continues to break barriers.
“In this country, we have these notions about universities,” Roberts said. “If you go to Harvard, you expect to win because it’s considered an ‘Ivy League’ or a ‘top university.’ And the fact that we can overcome those expectations and prove that we can do what they do too, means so much to me.”