There exists a multitude of interpretations for what constitutes a family. Some will say it is blood relation, some will say it is childhood bonds, while others believe it is proximity. However, for the University’s chapter of Model United Nations, family is their Top 20 ranked team.
Every year, students from top colleges across the country and around the globe come together for a series of United Nations simulation conferences, spending hours demonstrating their abilities in leadership, negotiation and public speaking. Through these conferences, students can win awards such as “Best Delegate,” or “Best Large Delegation.” The competition is fierce, but that doesn’t intimidate Miami Model UN as they enter the circuit every year as one of the top-ranked teams.
“My teammates are my best friends,” said Tim Shaw, Miami Model UN president. “It really is like one big family, and I think that’s what makes us so good. Our members look forward to practicing and being together.”
This year, Miami Model UN traveled to five conferences and won several awards, placing them as the 19th ranked team in the world, according to Best Delegate, a website that yearly ranks Model UN teams worldwide. The achievement is a testament to the hard work and determination of members this past competition season.
“At Miami Model UN we have students excelling at the activity,” said Samantha Suchsland, executive chair of finance and former president of Miami Model UN. “This speaks volumes to the leadership on our campus.”
Although Miami Model UN has since exemplified their talent in front of the world, the reward did not come without its set of challenges. Each year, the team is faced with the struggle of insufficient funding.
“Traveling to conferences is expensive,” Suchsland said. “The school supports us; however, with more funding we would be able to travel more and probably rank higher.”
Nonetheless, setbacks like this do not stop the team from finding unique solutions for funding. For instance, Miami Model UN hosts several fundraising events and has even partnered with different companies, such as the app Picante, to reach their financial goals. They also host a yearly conference for high schoolers, which serves as another form of funding and a great educational opportunity for future college Model UN delegates.
“When we host our high school competitions, kids come up to us for advice knowing we are a top-ranked team,” Suchland said.
For Miami Model UN, being a world-renowned delegation has helped them attract talented UM students from all walks of life to the organization. The team is proud of the diversity they demonstrate and hope to keep fostering a community where anyone with genuine passion for international diplomacy is welcome.
“There are issues of inclusion in the greater Model United Nations circuit and our team is very proud to be fighting against that,” Shaw said.
The young college delegates aim to continue defying stereotypes and encouraging inclusion within their team by hosting forums educating members on how they can be beacons for change. These events stimulate dialogue surrounding the importance of gender, sexuality, race and socioeconomic diversity in the fields of international relations and politics.
All of these initiatives are spearheaded with the hope that Miami Model UN will continue to thrive as an organization exemplifying the rich academic and cultural community that is the University of Miami. Their success in the last competition season is only the beginning of what is sure to be continued achievements.
“Making it to the 19th place internationally is fuelling us for this upcoming season,” Shaw said. “From here, the only place is up.”