Florida State University

College of Social Sciences & Public Policy

College of Social Sciences & Public Policy

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World Affairs Program Scores Big In Two Competitions

The FSU World Affairs Program (WAP), a student-run organization within the college that competes in crisis simulations and Model UN competitions across the country, won numerous awards at two recent events.

The WAP team, ranked #14 last year among all North American schools and #12 in the world division, edged out such high-ranking competition as Georgetown, Vanderbilt and the University of Georgia and the #2 ranked team in the nation, Florida International University (FIU). They also competed against eight international schools.

Model United Nations (MUN) conferences are organized by MUN clubs such as WAP at high schools or universities, following a structure, rules and process set by the Model UN institute. Students typically roleplay delegates to the United Nations and simulate UN committees. They are presented with assignments in advance, along with a topic or topics that their committee will discuss. Delegates conduct research before conferences and formulate positions that they will then debate with their fellow delegates in the committee, staying true to the actual position of the member they represent.

Crisis Simulation conferences are subsets of the Model UN concept that operate more as UN subgroups (e.g., Security Council) and deal with specific crises that require more immediate action and adjustments as updates to the crisis are introduced.

At the end of most conferences, outstanding delegates in each committee are recognized and given an award certificate. Overall delegation awards are also announced, and MUN issues annual rankings based on each school’s conference performances.

On February 16-17, WAP competed in the Florida Crisis Simulation at the University of Florida in Gainesville, walking away with Best Large Delegation, the highest team award at the event.

Individuals also did well. Of the 23 delegates who competed that weekend, 20 won awards in the categories of Best Delegate, Outstanding Delegate, Honorable Delegate and Verbal. Of the 11 new delegates on the team, nine received awards, and three of those received gavels, signifying their achievements in both speaking and recommended policy writing.

“My favorite statistic for this conference is that we received 75 points, meaning an outstanding 3.3 points for each delegate,” said WAP Director Richard Sommers, a senior majoring in international affairs and political science. “To put these statistics in perspective, we won 65 points in 2017 with 24 delegates [2.7 points each] and 60 points with 25 delegates [2.4 points] in 2016.”

The following weekend at the Model United Nations event at Emory University in Atlanta, the WAP team once again captured the Best Large Delegation award, its third such in the 2018-2019 academic year. Eight of the 12 students competing won individual awards at this event.

Sommers pointed out the importance of the group’s achievement in light of superior resources behind some competing teams.

“The FIU team we went up against not only attends a Model UN course for a semester but is allocated a $135,000 budget to travel yearly,” he said.

Sommers was quick to add that increased support for the FSU program over the past year from the college, alumni and donors has “dramatically changed the sustainability and landscape” of the program, leading to these impressive standings. During FSU’s Great Give online giving event in March 2018, WAP exceeded its fundraising goal, allowing it to expand its travel and competition opportunities to more and farther-reaching conferences. The increased funding now allows the team to travel to prestigious West Coast conferences, such as an upcoming one in San Francisco.

The greater level of support – along with a highly dedicated and hard-working student membership – has enabled FSU WAP to double its number of pre-conference training sessions, a factor Sommers credits with the group’s increasingly higher competition standings.

In order to field the best teams, WAP also holds tryouts for each competition.

The World Affairs Program was established at FSU in 1986. Participation in competitions and conferences requires students to hone their skills in research, public speaking, debating and writing, as well as critical thinking, teamwork, and leadership.

In addition, WAP promotes increased awareness of the global community and encourages personal, social and political growth through speaker and mentor programs and campus political activity.


Florida Crisis Simulation award winners (Gainesville)

Best Delegates:
Kathryn Vigrass
Jake Mason
Scott Williams
Shelby Fleshood
Alain M Acanda
Sebastian Rivera
Chris Duggan

Outstanding Delegates:
Roberto Flores
Alisson Sealy
Lucy Walsh
Allie Odishelidze
Matthew Putnam

Honorable Delegates:
Holden Bradley
Conner Kabrich
Noelle Du Bois
Mitchell Nuland

Verbal:
Julianne Maria
Melissa Pregasen
Shannon McWaters
Nolan Rudolph

Model UN award winners (Atlanta)

Best Delegates:
Grace Michaels
Scott Williams

Outstanding Delegates:
Julianne Maria
Shelby Fleshood
Jake Mason
Lucy Walsh

Honorable Delegates:
Kathryn Vigrass
Sebastian Rivera