Model EU Testimonials 2021

ImageJonathan Milian

BA in International Relations (Spring 2021)
Certificate in European & Eurasian Studies
Florida International University

The Model EU was certainly one of the best experiences I have had as an undergraduate student at FIU. Before Model EU I had some experiences with simulations like these, whether it be in my high school model UN, or during my diplomacy and negotiations class at the undergraduate level. I have always had a passion for working with others in these sorts of settings, and I personally love getting into a character / country and acting on behalf of them. Being in the shoes of a diplomat especially in this aspect of working and debating certain issues and policy is extremely daunting sometimes, however, once in the role and in the mindset, I feel it comes easily for me, and for most students. I really had not had any experience with Model EU, and so coming into it I knew it was going to be different than what I had experienced before. Personally, at the Model UN level, I feel there is a lot more conflict resolution, and there are far greater challenges when it comes to creating policy. However, this is where the Model EU differs, the situation is completely different. The EU is a cooperative body where everyone must work together to get things done and passed. In order for any resolution to pass, there needs to be unanimous consent on issues. This factor really plays into the dynamic of these simulations as delegates tend to be less hostile and more cooperative in nature, and in my opinion, learning to work cooperatively in these sorts of simulations is invaluable experience for future diplomats and negotiations. Yes, conflict and conflict resolution is something important to know, learn, and experience, however, learning to cooperate is a whole different animal. I loved these simulations and the experience I gained out of them will profoundly impact my actions for the future. As for Model EU contributing to my academic journey, in a purely academic standpoint, I felt that the MEU simulations compacted all the knowledge I had been learning about the EU and its institutions, and it only helped solidify what I had learned in classes beforehand. Just like my Negotiation and Diplomacy class, these simulations gave me incredible experience when it comes to working with others in this professional type setting. As for representing FIU, and the Jean Monnet Center of Excellence, I felt that being selected for this program meant that I had to try my best in making my school and my amazing advisors and faculty proud of their selections. It was a great honor, and I am happy that I was able to bring back awards from all the simulations, whether it was a personal award, or just as an entire delegation. Working with FAU was also a great experience and getting to know and meet people who had learned under other professors about the same issues was great in enabling me to expand my opinions and knowledge on the topics I already knew. Overall, being part of the Model EU representing FIU was a great experience that I feel is going to help me academically and professionally in the future. Being part of these types of programs really expand ones knowledge, and meeting new people and learning from their perspective is truly amazing.

Image Danny Vazquez Tarrau

BA in International Relations (Fall 2021)
Certificate in European & Eurasian Studies
Florida International University

Having had the opportunity to participate in the simulations of the real-life experience of what it would be like to work for and within the European Union was an experience, to even one such as myself who, respectfully of course, considers himself quite versed in European affairs, unlike any other. Except of course for the real-life thrill (or headache?). Having studied international relations as in depth as is possible at Florida International University (FIU), it was no exaggeration to say, for my part at least, that I felt the weight and magnitude of the issues we had to tackle and the near impossibility of corralling 27 independent and sovereign European states, thus implying a particular set of complex and overlapping, historical, ethnic, cultural and to say nothing of the socio-economic disseverances and disparities that straddle this at times frustratingly crazy, and yet so uniquely beautiful project. One of my biggest takeaways, especially after the end of the final competition, was the level to which each member state, even during these times of the COVID, does to a certain degree, even when under increasingly difficult times, do indeed band together and at least try as much as possible to maintain the veneer of “solidarity”. Thus, perhaps explaining the difficulties in “adequately” calling out member states domestic issues and concerns by other member states, who themselves, while perhaps on a different realm, are themselves vulnerable to being called out for their own democratic and post-world war liberal order credentials. The reality that comes with sharing the international political space that is the European Union, and more so during the vast geopolitical shifts of our era, that are themselves are evolving in some instances at a rapid pace, is unlike any other and this was personally felt the most during the Midwestern Model EU, where I had the singular privilege of being a Member of the European Commission. No matter how personally angered one’s sense of honor, or pride, in one’s own country’s sense of personal beliefs, that’s does not negate, in any way, the realities of help that certain states, given their geographical region, are in need of. How does one square idealism with reality? Especially those cold and often brutal political truths? Like some countries, even when the can, may not be lining up to spend more of their own wealth on other external, yet within the EU, concerns. This does not make them inherently evil or cruel, nor does it their diplomats and representatives, with whom one must respect and work with, while that, naturally produces a relationship, that can quite honestly sometimes become rather aggressive, yet diplomatically. What fun! While on the more personal level, winning for FIU overall was awesome, more so as this coincided with the final semester of my B.A. studies. While at the same time, helping me further home in on skills that will serve me well during my M.A. studies in Europe. And not only having the chance to represent FIU, at the same time, because of our special connection, we also had the distinguished honor, to represent the Miami-Florida Jean Monnet European Center of Excellence. A center of which I am personally involved with on and off campus and having been since the beginnings of my senior year in January of 2020. To say that thanks to the Model EU program, to my university, and to the Jean Monnet European Center in Miami, this was the most unforgettable and special of semester to cap with my graduation. A lifetime of rewards.

ImageAlly J. Jackman

BA in International Relations
Florida International University

The experience of the team I had the privilege of contributing to, and the Model EU itself, is one I consider a significant growing experience for aspects of my development I had not given any weight to – if you will, like a muscle you never notice until once you concentrate on building your physical strength. I have no doubt that this will, in turn, become just as significant of a memory. Progressing discursively, the Model EU programme, and its conferences, are ordered in a structure that allows for much freedom. It truly allows for members of the team to express their own strengths: it tests how they fair as one edges into more creative modes, and, how their strengths withstand both the short, intense discussions, as well maintaining intensity over the days. I enjoyed this test extraordinarily – it allows you flex yourself in a way that, I believe, is ample for the strengthening of a person’s virtuosity. The beauty of this demand is that it allows one to become acutely aware of their weaknesses, but because of the myriad of contexts you are placed in over the days of conferences and weeks prior, you have so many opportunities in which they can be strengthened rapidly. I observed these within myself, and with my team – whom, in what was arguably the greatest surprise, was a balanced team in terms of how serious we all were in improving ourselves, and the ferocity in desire to represent the European department. Each member of the team was willing, in my experience, to organise and work independently of our director and advisor – Dr. Thiel and Mr. Fiocchetto – to learn with each other, sharing knowledge that we had found, despite preparing to be representing different nations in the conferences. This leads, ultimately, to where I want to end: in ceremonies and testimonials, it is hardly uncommon to hear of phrases of endearment used to describe the leaders of grand projects. I must emphasis, however, that the directors of this project are incredible individuals, as mentors and in their scholastic virtuosity. There is no higher praise I can offer than to that I offer to Dr. Thiel, Mr. Fiocchetto, and Mme. Caly – whose mentorship and investment into the success of each of us is the greatest privilege I have had in my time at SIPA.

Image Abel Ramos Taype

Master in Business Administration
BA in International Relations and Political Science
BA in Sociology and Anthropology
Certificate in Latin American and Caribbean Studies
Certificate in National Security Studies
Florida International University

During the Pandemic, I was able to enhance my academic journey in unexpected ways. While doing my Master's, I was invited to partake of the FIU's European Union Model. Thanks to Dr. Thiel, I met other students that shared the same passion I had for Foreign Affairs, Politics, and the European integration process, with whom I became friends. The virtual component was a perfect chance for me as I work and study full-time. From the comfort and safety of my home, I was able to deploy my best problem-solving and leadership skills.

Nevertheless, the possibility of advancing my knowledge in European Institutions but also mastering negotiation and public speaking abilities thru a political simulation like this was significant. I knew that this challenge meant a rewarding feeling of personal fulfillment. Stepping out from my comfort (quarantine) zone and becoming competitive was thrilling. During the two simulations, I took my country's role very seriously and made numerous attempts to reach a consensus with clear communication strategies. My MEU experience was very gratifying at the end when receiving constructive feedback from my team and hearing other judge's arguments. One judge even said that I had an excellent political profile if I decided to run for office one day. However, none of this would have been possible without my teammates and advisors. The support and training were unavailable and made me better prepare to represent Malta.