University receives first place in National Model United Nations

FAU diplomacy students win first place out of over 50 universities at Washington D.C. Model United Nations conference. Student Government leaders among those who won an award.


André Rajoo

(Left) Director of Multicultural Programming Mariana Vallejo representing Turkey, (Center) Boca Raton House Speaker Reilly Bridgers representing the Republic of Congo, and (Right) Boca House Pro Tempore Kyla Flannery representing Israel.

André Rajoo, Political Reporter

Last Thursday, students from the Jupiter and Boca Raton campuses participated in the National Model United Nations (NMUN) in Washington D.C.

Student Government (SG) leaders were among the winning delegations that received an outstanding award for their performance. FAU received first place for the second year in a row and the third time in university history.

The National Model United Nations is a conference where different universities from around the country meet twice a year in New York and Washington D.C. The Leon Charney Diplomacy Program allows students to participate without any cost in these conferences. Students who participate are a part of the diplomacy courses offered on the Jupiter and Boca Raton campuses.

Students that have already taken diplomacy courses and attended in the past are also eligible to continue attending the conferences. Students spend each semester preparing for their NMUN conference by learning about their country and creating binders that include information about the country they are assigned to represent.

Delegate Breana Hanley, an economics major, and other students represented the country of Indonesia, which was awarded second place for its team’s performance. 

“I am happy we were able to be in-person. It gave everyone a chance to advocate for their country and causes in the presence of a physical audience,” Hanley said. “We were all very well prepared. Though students from other universities were attempting to intimidate us outside the sessions, we still came out on top.”

Students represented delegates of different countries to develop and submit resolutions concerning their respective delegation at the conference. Students’ delegations included assemblies that worked to resolve environmental, political, and monetary problems. 

Many countries represented by SG leaders garnered top awards at the conference. Representatives Michaela Clark, Adela Ramos, Reilly Bridgers, Alexander Cedeno, Isabella Feaheny, Dylan Hobbs-Fernie, Isabelle Munar, Emma Solorzano, and Senator Jaylene Kennedy were among the students representing countries that received three outstanding, one distinguished, and two honorable mentions awards. FAU received the most outstanding awards among more than 50 universities. 

Faculty members Jeffrey Morton Ph.D. , director of the diplomacy program, and Timothy Steigenga Ph.D. , assistant director of the diplomacy program, were among the faculty to prepare students for this year’s conference and accompany them on the trip. 

“The diplomacy program is open to students of all majors. We have ten foundations that fund our trips and have never used a cent of funding from FAU,” Morton said. “Years ago, we had some students go and compete in the international model UN in Denmark. They won first place and ended up on Danish TV for an interview.”

Other members accompanying students included head delegates who were long-time veterans of the NMUN conferences and junior faculty members who are former student delegates that are now in graduate school.

“It feels great to be back in Washington D.C. It is nostalgic for me, especially having been here to compete when I was an undergrad. I know everyone in our group is well prepared. I have no doubt they will be the best,” said junior faculty member Kartikk Musiri Ilamadi, an alum of the FAU Honors College and current graduate student of the School of Business.

Since late 2019, the NMUN conferences have taken place online because of pandemic concerns. This conference in Washington D.C. was the first in-person conference since the pandemic started, and students were pleased to finally attend in person.

“It was an honor to represent FAU at the National Model United Nations conference at our nation’s capital on the Economic and Social Council, advocating for the role of science, technology, and innovation on social development and wellbeing for all. FAU is now the National Model UN back-to-back champion,” said Rep. Michaela Clark upon finishing the conference.

Students in the FAU diplomacy program are eager to attend the spring 2022 NMUN conference in New York. Students are already planning to win once more to hold onto the national championship title as they continue to keep their eyes on the prize for 2022. 

André Rajoo is a Political Reporter for the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected]