On the heels of being named the No. 3 team in North America for the second year in a row, FIU’s Model United Nations team has gotten some additional accolades.
Three FIU MUN delegates have been selected to the prestigious North American College Model U.N. All-Star Team – described as the “best and most respected leaders in the [Model UN] community” by Best Delegate, the organization that rates collegiate Model UN teams.
All-stars are chosen by their peers not just for their performance at competitions – but for their leadership and ability to “strengthen relationships between schools … and make the Model UN experience better for everyone,” according to Best Delegate. Delegates who earn the greatest number of votes are divided into three tiers within the all-star team – first team, second team and third team.
“It is truly an honor to be elevated to the all-star team,’’ said John F. Stack, founding dean of the Steven J. Green School of International & Public Affairs and faculty advisor to the team. “These students are the best of the best.”
Joining the 2021-2022 all-star team are Hayley Serpa, who is pursuing a joint MA and BA in history and was named to the first team; sophomore Alexander Sutton, a political science major named to the second team; and junior Marek Kong, an international relations major named to the third team.
All are head delegates with FIU MUN and each has made a lasting contribution to the FIU team – and to the circuit overall, said Ashley Weathers, a former head delegate who now serves as FIU Model UN program director.
“The all-star team is elected by every single team on the circuit,’’ Weathers explained. “Being impactful on our program is fantastic but these delegates impacted a number of students across North America through their diplomacy, leadership and success.”
For Serpa, this was her first year competing at in-person conferences.
“I am super grateful for everyone that considered me for this All-Stars list despite it being only my first year competing in person,’’ she said. “There is no better feeling than seeing my passion and dedication for the team being recognized.”
Serpa’s passion for Model UN goes beyond competition. She also worked tirelessly to provide a welcoming environment for students at FIU’s Model UN conference for high school students (FIMUN), held earlier this year.
As a head delegate for FIU MUN this past year, Sutton competed at 11 conferences, bringing home various awards including three gavels (first place) at Model UN at Emory, UC Berkeley Model UN and the College of William & Mary MUN.
"This year has truly been the dream,’’ said Sutton, who is also active with FIU’s Student Government Association, where he will serve as Senate President for the 2022-2023 academic year. “Model UN is an outlet for my creativity, allowing me to play out my wildest geopolitical fantasies, and getting on the all-stars team as one of the most impactful Model UN delegates in the country has been an honor.”
Kong has been involved in Model UN since high school and joined FIU Model UN his freshman year. He is considered one of the best mentors on the FIU team and one of the most passionate. His personal background – being from a Chinese and Jamaican family – spurred his interest not only in Chinese and Caribbean relations but also the importance of diaspora communities in international relations.
"I am so honored to be part of FIU's representation on the all-stars list,’’ Kong said. “This year our team faced so many challenges. Our collective effort has inspired me to strive for more not only in MUN but in all areas of my life.”
“Being on the all-stars list is one of many signs of a great year,” he added. “I know with our new leadership and our devoted team there is nothing we can't do.”