FIU MUN helps students develop professionally and personally

The FIU MUN team winning Best Large Delegation at Georgetown University in 2017.

Gabriella Pinos/Assistant Entertainment Director

Michelle Rosario had no idea what Model United Nations was when she came to FIU. When she joined the program her freshman year of college, she lacked the confidence to give a speech or even talk in front of her peers.

Four years later, she’s the director of the second-best ranked MUN program in the nation.

“When I did Model UN, they [were] talking about these international concepts. I didn’t even understand them, and now I’m teaching people how they work,” said Rosario.

The Model UN program at FIU is offered as an international relations course taught by Rosario. The members of the team, called delegates, compete in conferences across the nation, tackling issues, such as international diplomacy and foreign policy, faced by the real United Nations.

FIU MUN also participates in simulation tryouts, where delegates are assigned a country and analyze a topic based on the perspective of that country. Aside from mimicking a general UN assembly, tryouts are also designed to recruit new members for MUN.

For delegates like FIU alum Stephen Horler, former president of FIU MUN, the program offers students skills that they will use for years to come.

“Model UN made me a person who strives to be the best delegate in the competition and outside of it,” said Horler.

Aside from personal development, FIU MUN also offers delegates professional opportunities, according to Syed Adnan, a senior studying international relations and president of FIU MUN.

“For me, Model UN has been a crucial component in me getting into grad school and finding employment after I graduate,” said Adnan. “I’m currently in the application process, and when it comes to letters of recommendation, it’s been a breeze because I’ve had so many faculty options who have come forward and tried to help me out, especially through the applications.”

Throughout FIU MUN’s history, delegates have been hired around the country in internships and job opportunities involving international relations, according to Adnan. Current delegates, such as Alexander Rubido, a freshman studying accounting, are also using his involvement in the program to pursue internships in places as high as the White House.

“We have people working at the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce up in D.C., we have people on The Hill, we have people at consulting groups here in Miami,” said Adnan. “You’ll find us everywhere because of those opportunities.”

MUN also gives students the opportunity to travel as they compete, according to Rosario. On Feb. 14 to 17, the team will participate in the Harvard National Model United Nations Conference, one of the most competitive conferences in the country. Representing FIU at such a high level and against Ivy League schools, according to Rosario, is just one of the reasons why she enjoys participating in MUN so much.

“They’re afraid of us, so having that pride, having that kind of prestige behind the FIU name is not something that you can find in every club, not even in every academic program,” said Rosario. “I feel like this is one of the very few programs at FIU where you have the opportunity to be the most prestigious group.”

This year, FIU MUN will be striving to rank first in the nation, something that will involve more intense training, according to Adnan.

“We’re definitely going to be traveling a lot this semester, and these classes are definitely going to be more intense and a little bit more challenging for the students, and we’re hoping that by pressuring them, by encouraging them to be at their best and applying even more of a competitive drive to them that, naturally, a hero will emerge and lead us,” said Adnan.

Despite that, FIU MUN is one of the most diplomatic groups out there and offers a wholesome experience, according to Desiree Gonzalez, a sophomore studying political science and a head delegate at FIU MUN. For her, this trait is something that she and her delegates carry in and out of the conference room.

“At the end of the day, we’re all just a bunch of friends who like talking about foreign policy and geeking out,” said Gonzalez.

Photo courtesy of Michelle Rosario.

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