Model EU Testimonials 2022

ImageMatthew Kertesz

BA in Political Science (Spring 2022)
Certificate in European & Eurasian Studies

As a graduating senior, joining Model EU was the best decision I could have made. In addition to solidifying my career interests in International Affairs and European Politics, participating in Model EU allowed me to further develop my research and analytical skills, as well as my global intercultural fluency. Throughout this semester, I had the opportunity to foster valuable connections with both students and faculty. These connections were made here at FIU as well as with students and faculty of other prestigious universities from across the United States and will be extremely valuable as I move forward in my academic and professional careers.

Across the various conferences that our team participated in, we had the opportunity to engage with topics that are relevant to the most current and pressing EU priorities. Through deep and productive negotiations with our fellow delegates, we were able to deliver resolutions and directives that worked to satisfy the interests of all parties involved. This semester, our team had the chance to represent the interests of a variety of EU member states. Personally, I was able to represent the interests of Austria, Germany, and Belgium. Acting on behalf of all three of these countries presented their own sets of unique challenges and opportunities. While representing Germany, I had the unique responsibility of expressing the interests of the EU’s most powerful and influential member state. This facilitated the chance for me to take on a true leadership role as we worked towards reaching agreements on the various agenda items. Furthermore, as the delegate representing Belgium on the European Council, I was able to build on my previous leadership experience by embracing Belgium’s role as President of the European Council. As a first experience chairing a council of this sort, my expectations were somewhat uninformed. However, from the moment the conference began, I had a wonderful time and was truly grateful for the chance to lead the discussion throughout the weekend. My fellow delegates were nothing but supportive and were integral in facilitating a productive conference in which we came together on a variety of current issues despite the existence of real and broad disagreement. By maintaining our commitment to the EU’s values of solidarity, we kept our focus on bridging our differences through a dedication to dynamic and respectful negotiation.

Prior to joining FIU’s Model EU team, I hoped to gain valuable experience in the effort to debate and ultimately deliver effective and necessary legislation. Additionally, I expected to participate in an environment in which myself and my other teammates could work alongside likeminded students and assist each other in our pursuit to improve upon a variety of vital skills such as problem-solving, negotiation, teamwork, and leadership. After reflecting upon my experience, I can say with confidence that participation in Model EU facilitated and surpassed each of my expectations. I feel confident that I am walking away with a much-refined ability to research, analyze, and represent a broad set of viewpoints, and feel more confident than ever in the pursuance of my post-graduate academic and professional ambitions. I greatly appreciate the opportunity provided by FIU’s Jean Monnet European Center of Excellence, as well as the invaluable support provided by our faculty advisors.

ImageRita Kanazeh

BS in Biological Sciences (Fall 2022)
BA in International Relations (Fall 2022)
Honors College
Certificate in Middle East and Muslim World Studies
Global Learning Medallion

I joined Model EU in sole coincidence, after a former Model EU member told me about the influential experience and it was a grand decision I pursued during my senior year at FIU. Although, I was hesitant to officially join the team because I didn’t have experience in debating and negotiating. The beauty about it was that I gained these skills in our pre-sessions and in the model debates themselves. Within the model, I learned how these debates occur, the terminology used, and rules. I previously learned briefly about the European Union from Dr. Thiel’s class on International Organizations, but actually living through it, its implications, as well as applying these skills within the model vastly different than just interpreting the textbook about this particular organization. Given the very brief knowledge I had before joining FIU’s Model EU about the European Union, it didn’t mean that I couldn’t serve as a future delegate, but instead opened a new challenge and opportunity to broaden my understandings of this specific regional organization. As an international relations student, I believe it is important to have some degree of knowledge of what is happening politically, economically, socially in all regions of the world. Sometimes we tend to focus on one area, make it our forte, and forget other parts of the globe in this interconnected world. Thus, Model EU was the reason I grew professionally and academically. Looking back at my initial decision to join, I’m glad I took this route and didn’t get intimidated from my lack of experience. I definitely recommend Model EU to anyone wanting to immerse themselves in a professional framework, enhance their public speaking skills, get out of their comfort zone, and most importantly, to learn, as education is the only discipline which moves us forward.

In my first model, at the University of Pittsburgh Model EU, I served as the Head of Government of Czechia. I really got a glimpse of how difficult it is to come to final decisions when countries are trying to implement policies, even in a setting were European core values and goals are quite aligned politically and economically. Serving as a delegate, I had to be quick and bold with my information and ideas and how to utilize them to sway decisions in favor of my country, Czechia. I embodied myself in the ideology of a Czechian politician and acted as they would respond, formed my strategic allies, and did what was in my best interest as a delegate of Czechia when debating the matters of “Protecting our climate and digital transformation, Digital Europe Programme and Cyber Threats, and EU-US Partnership”.

Lastly, I want to thank faculty advisors: Ernesto, Dr. Thiel, and Christine for preparing the team and teaching us about the works of the Model and of the European Union in addition to guiding us with the strategic methods of negotiation and debating. I raise a gratitude to their support which was all possible from the Miami-Florida Jean Monnet European Center of Excellence at FIU.

ImageLauren Cibrian

BA in International Relations and Political Science (Fall 2023)

In my first semester at FIU, as a transfer student, I learned about the Model EU program in Dr. Thiel's EU politics class. He stated that at the end of the semester, he would select the best five students in his class to participate in the program without having to go through the interview process. I received the email from Dr. Thiel at the start of the Spring semester and quickly expressed my interest in joining the team. I was really interested at the time in gaining a thorough understanding of the European Union and its functions. After attending the three conferences (Pittsburgh, West Coast, and Midwest), I am certain that I have accomplished my goal of learning more about the European Union and its politics. It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to walk in the shoes of EU policymakers and heads of state, and it gave me a better understanding of how tough it is to represent a country's interests while trying to reach an agreement with 27 other countries on global concerns. I was hesitant to join the team at first because I had no prior experience, but Dr. Thiel, Ernesto, and Christine provided excellent training, preparation, and support throughout the semester. Overall, I am grateful for everything they did for the team and will undoubtedly return next year. As a result of this experience, I can confidently state that I have grown both personally and professionally. I met some amazing people and made some valuable professional connections. Professionally, it broadened my experience dealing with global issues and guided me in shaping the direction I want to pursue in my field of study. I learned public speaking, negotiating, and conflict resolution skills among other things. These abilities will undoubtedly benefit my professional career and having the opportunity to learn in such a wonderful environment was well worth the effort.

ImageSalome Katsia

BA in International Relations and Political Science (Fall 2023)

I am Salome Katsia a soon to be junior at Florida International University, Studying International Relations. Miami-Florida Jean Monnet Center of Excellence gave me the opportunity to become a member of the Model European Union team. Since my early teens I have been eagerly participating in Model UN and EU which makes me extremely excited for every single event we participate in. It is an honor to be continuing what I have started doing in middle school back at home. I have already participated in two Model EUs one of them being fully online on March 4-5 and finally traveling to Indianapolis on March 31-April 2, 2022, for the second one. We have done an amazing job at filling the real EU policymakers legacy with the help of our amazing mentoring team. Ernesto has helped us immensely. He has been extremely supportive all thought-out. Christine, who accompanied us did a great job at both support and organization of the whole trip. It has been an absolute pleasure to work with the whole team and I am looking forward to what is next to come.