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2023 Model UN

The 30th Annual Southwest Florida Model United Nations was exciting and successful because of the hard work of many people. We were fortunate to have all our 12 committees together in FGCU’s new Water Building and the School of Hospitality Management, Sugden Hall next door. We were honored by the presence of several distinguished visitors, including the leadership of the Collier County Public Schools, and 21 Fulbright High School teachers from countries around the world.

Our keynote speaker during the closing ceremony was a former SWFLMUN competitor and recent FGCU graduate, Hanna Nussair. Hanna now serves with the United Nations Foundation in Washington, DC.  

Also, Hanna was interviewed by WGCU. Her inspiring thoughts will remind viewers of why our SWFLMUN program is so meaningful to students, teachers, coaches and NCWA supporters and volunteers. To view her interview, please click here.

A total of 15 high schools from Charlotte, Lee and Collier counties competed in 12 committees over a period of two days. Close to 65 members of the Naples Council volunteered as judges, registrars, and helpers. A total of 24 Chairs and Vice Chairs led the committees. They are highly experienced college students drawn from the NCWA MUN alumni network.

            Hanna Nussair

Through the contributions of Naples Council members, over $40,000 in awards and scholarships were given to winning delegates and teams. We also provided for the first time MUN awards honoring the role of faculty coaches.

The opening and closing ceremonies were enhanced by two inspiring videos produced especially for the 30th SWFLMUN anniversary celebration. The two videos, along with the recordings of both the opening and closing ceremonies, are posted on the website.  

Meanwhile, preparations are already underway for the 31st annual SWFLMUN, March 4 -5, 2024, incorporating lessons we are learning along the way.

                         ~ Alan Van Egmond, Chair

Students Win Prizes From NCWA Donors Supporting MUN

Alexia Espinoza Vlad of Barron Collier High School, left, receives the $2,500 Ron Gymer Memorial Award from Ron's widow, Marianne, who flew to Naples from Ohio to participate as a Model UN judge and present the award in her late husband's memory. Ron was a member of the NCWA Board of Directors and supporter of Model UN.

Kajsa Carlsen receives Ralph J. Bunche Award from Richard Clemens, who donated $2,500 in seed money to the grant. 

Mimi Gregory, left, NCWA VP for Programs, presents the $2,500 award in her name to Gal Shem-Tov from Gulf Coast High School.

Kajsa Carlsen Receives 
$6,500 Bunche Award

Kajsa Carlsen of Port Charlotte High School was named Ralph J. Bunche Award winner at the SWFL Model UN competition at Florida Gulf Coast University.

Originally established in 2018 by Richard Clemens in honor of Dr. Bunche, this is the highest award given at the annual SWFL Model UN event and is accompanied by a check for $6,500.

NCWA organizes and leads the annual competition.

Kajsa is a National Merit Scholar, is involved in the National Honor Society and student government, and is president of the Key Club. She runs a mentoring program through her school and tutors underclassmen on a regular basis.

She is enrolled in both Advanced Placement and AICE Cambridge courses and has earned high scores in all of her exams. 

Emma Upson of Gulf Coast High School receives the Ambassador Gregor Zore Memorial Award of $2,500 donated by his widow, Edie Hunt, from Model UN chair Alan Van Egmond. The same award was given by Gegor and Edie three years ago to Emma's brother, Ethan, who was chair of SHARKMUNC at Gulf Coast, the same position held by Emma last year.

Last year during her time in AP Research class, Kajsa conducted a study on health literacy in teenage males and wrote a 5,000-word paper on her results. This paper went on to earn 5 (the highest possible score) and cemented her status as an AP Diploma Recipient, passing both AP Seminar and AP Research, as well as the four additional AP courses required. 

In her time as an AICE Cambridge student, she has passed the requisite seven college-level Cambridge courses to earn her AICE diploma as well and is currently ranked No. 1 in her class.

As the president of the MUN club for her high school, she has personally trained their group from a team of two (including herself) to an accomplished team of 16. 

Kajsa will attend the University of Florida in the fall as a pre-med student, and her career aspirations include becoming a pediatric oncologist. While at UF she intends to be a part of the UF MUN team and help with GatorMUN, and has expressed enthusiasm about chairing at SWFLMUN, as well.

Her coach at Port Charlotte High School was Ali Hofstetter.

Receiving the Thomas J. O'Gorman Memorial Award from Maureen O'Gorman, right, is Alejandra Ramos of Lely High School. Alejandra, president of Trojan MUNC at Lely High School, is organizing a competition there on April 22.

Stella DeFrain receives the David and Beverly Worthington Award from Alan Van Egmond.

Donors contributing
$1,500 prizes were:

  • Robert and Joelle Roussel, who established the Mo Winograd Award for the best overall delegate. The prize went to Ravelska Lafalaise of Fort Myers High School.
  • Janet Markel in memory of her daughter Barbara for second place position paper, awarded to Isidor Radojevic of Barron Collier High School

A Special Video

To view SWFL Model UN's 30th anniversary video, please click here.

Ava Weidner receives the George Gotschall Memorial Award from Alan Van Egmond, NCWA's SWFL Model UN chair.

Valerie Orozco of Gulf Coast High School receives the Iqbal and Shelby Mamdani Award from Alan Van Egmond.

Mary Fairchild of Donahue Academy at Ave Maria won the prize for best written position paper. Prize money was donated by Greg Hudson, left, former president of NCWA. The award was accepted by her coach, Ethan "Tyler" Graham, who also was named Coach of the Year.

2023 Model UN Conference Winners   

 Top Schools  (earned for the team)            (Funded by Edith Hunt)

     1st Place ($1,000):  Gulf Coast High School

      2nd Place ($700):    Port Charlotte High School

      3rd Place ($300):     Lely High School

Diana McGowen Most Improved School ($500 for the team)

      Immokalee High School                                     (Funded by Edith Hunt)

 Educating Child Refugees Special Competition   

     1st place:  $500 - North Fort Myers High School   (Funded by Howard & Nancy Cohen)

      2nd place: $350 - Gulf Coast High School            (Funded by Mickey & Mo Winograd)

      3rd place:  $200 - Lely High School                     (Funded by Steve & Carol Vesce)

      Honorable Mention:

                        $100 - Immokalee High School 

                      $100 - Palmetto Ridge High School   

 Benjamin Estes Memorial Award ($500 for the team)

      Golden Gate High School

Multiyear Participation Awards

     Port Charlotte    Kajsa Carlsen             Ralph J. Bunche award                     $6,500

      Gulf Coast         Emma Upson              Amb. Gregor Zore Memorial award   $2,500

      Barron Collier    Alexia Espinoza Vlad   Ron Gymer Memorial award              $2,500

      Gulf Coast         Gal Shem-Tov             Mimi Gregory award                        $2,500

      Gulf Coast         Valerie Orozco            Iqbal & Shelby Mamdani award         $2,000

      Lely                  Alejandra Ramos        Thomas J. O'Gorman Memorial          $2,000

      Gulf Coast         Stella DeFrain             David & Beverly Worthington award  $2,000

      Gulf Coast         Ava Weidner               George Gotschall Memorial award     $2,000

   2023 Performance Awards

    Gulf Coast         Colin Briggs                 Best Single Year Performance           $1,500

     Fort Myers         Ravelska Lafalaise      Mo Winograd Outstanding Delegate    $1,500

     Gulf Coast         Colin Briggs                 Best Single Year - Junior                  $1,000

     Gulf Coast         Nathan Rubin              Best Single Year - Sophomore           $1,000

     Gulf Coast         Catie Saadeh              Best Single Year - Freshman              $   500

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