about best delegate
WHO WE ARE
Train today’s students into tomorrow’s leaders through Model United Nations.
We believe Model United Nations is the single best activity for preparing future world leaders. Model UN introduces young people to the world’s most biggest problems in peace and security, human rights, and sustainable development — and inspires them to find global solutions. Model UN gives students a chance to learn about different countries, foreign policies, and most importantly to critically think about issues from multiple perspectives and points of view different than their own.
We believe that Model UN teaches students much needed 21st century skills. Students learn how to research, write, speak, and negotiate. Students get the opportunity to lead their peers and organize large-scale conferences. These are skills that colleges look for and that employers value. But most importantly, these are skills that students will use throughout their lives as they grow into positions of leadership. We believe that the students who do MUN today will change the world one day.
Who is Best Delegate?
Best Delegate is the world’s leading expert on Model United Nations.
Best Delegate organizes Model UN training programs at university campuses and schools in twenty countries throughout North America, Latin America, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. Our flagship training program is the Model United Nations Institute by Best Delegate held at multiple universities across the United States.
We work with major non-profit organizations to develop Model UN programs. Our partners include the World Federation of United Nations Associations (WFUNA), UNA-USA Global Classrooms, THIMUN Qatar, Montessori Model United Nations, and many others. Our work has been observed by the United Nations Department of Public Information.
We run the world’s most popular website on Model UN, BestDelegate.com, which is read by over 600,000 readers from 190+ countries and territories annually. The website has been featured and cited in The New York Times and the Huffington Post.
Best Delegate was co-founded in 2010 by Ryan Villanueva and Kevin Felix Chan, who met at a high school Model UN conference in Southern California. The two kept in touch on the college circuit and by volunteering for UNA-USA’s Global Classrooms conferences, and eventually decided to leave their corporate jobs to turn a blog that Ryan had started from his dorm room at Yale into a global education organization dedicated to helping others succeed in Model United Nations.
Meet the Team
Ryan Villanueva is the Co-Founder and Education Director of Best Delegate. With 18 years of Model UN experience, Ryan leads Best Delegate’s Model UN teacher training and certification programs. He works on aligning Model UN with education standards, including Common Core, International Baccalaureate, 21st Century Learning, and Global Citizenship Education. Ryan advises the United Nations, governments, NGOs, school districts, and educational organizations on how to create Model UN programs.
Ryan launched the website bestdelegate.com in his senior year of college because he thought he was done with Model UN. After graduation, Ryan worked at Goldman Sachs as a risk analyst during the 2008 financial crisis. After two years on Wall Street, Ryan decided to quit his job, partner with one of his best friends, and start a company that would teach Model UN all over the world.
In addition to Best Delegate, Ryan volunteers on the boards of several non-profit organizations, including MUN Impact and Hope for Education and Leadership in Afghanistan. Ryan is a member of the Entrepreneurs Organization and serves as co-chair of the EO Accelerator program in Boston.
Ryan graduated from Yale University with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science. He lives in Boston, Massachusetts.
Kevin Felix Chan
Kevin Felix Chan
Kevin — also known by his initials “KFC” — is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of Best Delegate. He manages the Best Delegate team to deliver Model UN programs to over 5,000 students and teachers and Model UN resources to over 730,000 participants every year.
With over 18 years of Model UN experience, Kevin is a globally recognized expert in organizing and teaching Model UN camps, conferences, and workshops. Kevin has taught Model UN workshops in 19 countries around the world including programs for students, teachers, and staff at the Model UN Institute. He has organized 35 Model UN conferences including a dozen held at the UN Headquarters in New York. And he has authored over 430 articles about Model UN on BestDelegate.com and has spoken at Model UN conferences hosted by Yale, Stanford, and Princeton. One of his personal highlights was introducing former United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at the UN General Assembly Hall.
Prior to starting Best Delegate, Kevin was in the AT&T Leadership Development Program and held senior management positions in marketing, operations, and sales in San Francisco and Atlanta. However, he decided to quit his job at AT&T so that he could partner with one of his best friends to make a bigger impact and give back his Model UN experience. Kevin’s Model UN experience includes serving as the Secretary-General and Head Delegate for the UCLA Model UN program and as Secretary-General for UNA-USA Global Classrooms conferences in New York and Los Angeles. Kevin has traveled to over 60 countries and enjoys exploring the world’s cities and cuisines.
Kevin graduated from UCLA with a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science, cum laude. He also received a Certificate in Financial Management from Cornell University and a Certificate in International Studies from Fudan University in China. He lives in Los Angeles, California.
DIRECTOR OF PARTNERSHIPS
Director of Partnerships
Laurabeth Goldsmith is the Director of Partnerships at Best Delegate. She has developed partnerships with governments, nonprofit organizations, school districts, and businesses to create sustainable, student-led, and standards-aligned Model UN Programs. Laurabeth has traveled to more than fifty countries and has led Model UN trainings for thousands of students and educators around the world. This has included pioneering a multi year partnership with IDEA Public Schools (61 charter schools). Laurabeth also served as Program Director for the MUN Institute summer programs at Harvard, Georgetown, Columbia, and more.
Laurabeth believes in the power of Model UN to help create global citizens and to empower students to succeed in college and beyond. Prior to joining the team at Best Delegate Laurabeth worked for the Carter Center and Girl Scouts of Gulfcoast Florida. She was also the President of Emory’s Model UN team and helped to transform the team into one of the top 15 MUN teams in the country.
Laurabeth is an activist for gender equality and has volunteered with Girl Scouts for more than 20 years including in her current role as Girl Leadership Committee Advisor. In her free time she loves to travel, hike, kayak, and scuba dive.
Laurabeth graduated from Emory University with a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and completed the Community Building and Social Change Fellowship. She lives in Boston, Massachusetts.
Erik Leiden is a Program Director for Best Delegate. Erik is responsible for organizing Best Delegate’s MUN Institute, international workshops, and Model UN conferences around the world by creating the curriculum that thousands of Best Delegate students learn each year, and organizing the staff, facilities, and materials needed to create amazing experiences for all the delegates at Best Delegate events. Erik works closely with the UN Department of Public Information, the World Federation of United Nations Associations, and the THIMUN Foundation to coordinate Model UN programming in every major procedure. Erik’s responsibilities include organizing the WFUNA International Model UN (WIMUN), the most accurate portrayal of the UN of any conference in the world, and the largest conference using UN4MUN procedures. Erik has worked with partners and students from over 130 different countries to create educational and impactful MUN programs.
Erik has been participating in Model UN for 11 years. While in university, Erik served as the Secretary-General of OSUMUN, and as President and Head Delegate of the Model UN program at The Ohio State. Erik started working with Best Delegate in 2013 to coordinate Model UN programs around the world, including serving as the Secretary-General of Global Classrooms International Middle School Model UN (GCIMSMUN), and coordinating programs in South Korea, India, Italy, and across the United States prior to graduation. Erik enjoys traveling, reading, writing, and participating in triathlons.
Erik graduated from The Ohio State University with a Bachelor’s degree in World Politics. He currently lives in Amsterdam.
Community Development Manager
Community Development Manager
Aaron Kalafarski is the Community Development Manager of Best Delegate. In his current position Aaron works with hundreds of families, students, and educators to join the MUN Institute every summer. Most recently, Aaron also has been visiting schools and conferences within the DC, Maryland, and Virginia area to bring his MUN expertise to new and established MUN programs.
Aaron started reading Best Delegate’s blog as a Sophomore in high school. Aaron would go on to work with Best Delegate’s MUN Institute starting in 2013 as MUN Mentor. He eventually became a Program Manager for the MUN Institute at Georgetown, Columbia, Harvard, and other locations. He would join the team full time in 2016. Before this Aaron participated as a delegate and in several leadership positions in over 50 MUN conferences. Some of these opportunities included being the Secretary-General of his University’s MUN conference GatorMUN, teaching MUN at over 20 different Universities and across 4 countries, and being the Editor-in-Chief of Best Delegate’s Global Media Team. He also lived in South Korea for a year after graduating where he taught English to students ranging from 4 to 30.
Aaron graduated from the University of Florida with a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science, cum laude. He also received an International Relations certificate. He lives in Washington, DC.
Conna is the Marketing Manager of Best Delegate. In her current position, Conna draws on her 10+ years of Model UN experience to help families around the world connect with Best Delegate and the MUN Institute. She also manages the Best Delegate Media Team, which is comprised of 25+ members of the global MUN community who write articles and blog posts for Best Delegate, the MUN Institute, and MUN Education.
Conna first started working with Best Delegate when she was in college, working as a Media Associate writing articles and then as a Model UN Mentor for the MUN Institute. She also served as Director of Training of the Cornell International Affairs Society (CIAS) MUN team, and as the Chief of Staff and Director-General for the Cornell Model UN Conference (CMUNC). Throughout her MUN career, Conna has participated in 50+ conferences around the world as a delegate, Secretariat member, or observer.
After college, Conna worked in the field of international education to create exchange programs between schools in the USA and China. She joined the Best Delegate team full-time in September 2016. When she’s not being a Model UN fanatic, Conna enjoys playing the violin, traveling, volunteering with the Girl Scouts, practicing yoga, and attempting to learn how to cook.
Conna graduated from Cornell University with a Bachelor’s degree in China & Asia-Pacific Studies. She lives in Boston, Massachusetts.
Katrina Stevenson is the Operations Manager for Best Delegate. As an Operations Manager, Katrina sources vendors, manages logistical details, and helps supervise on-site programs, including the Best Delegate MUN Institute and other Best Delegate programs. In addition, throughout the year she serves as an MUN Mentor for middle school and high school students.
Prior to becoming an Operations Manager for Best Delegate, Katrina served as a MUN Mentor for the MUN Institute during the summer of 2017. Katrina went on to serve as a Model UN mentor during the fall for high school and middle school students. Before Best Delegate, Katrina participated in Model UN for 8 years starting her freshman year of high school. During high school she participated in over 25 conferences, led her club as Secretary-General for two years, and served as the Secretary-General for her annual high school conference. After her experience participating and leading a club in high school, Katrina went on to serve as a Secretary, Treasury, and finally President of her college Model UN team. While in college she also served as an assistant chair for international college conferences.
In addition to Model UN, Katrina has interned with the Partnership for Global Security researching nuclear energy and security policy. During her time with the NGO, she attended the Nuclear Security Summit in 2016 having the opportunity to hear from international leaders such as Former President Barack Obama and President Justin Trudeau. Finally, Katrina worked in the Colgate University Office of Admissions for three years, where she helped organize the Upstate New York International Counselor Tour, she interviewed prospective students, and worked on various marketing projects.
Katrina graduated from Colgate University with a Bachelor’s Degree in International Relations. She lives in Los Angeles, CA.
Global Media Team
The Global Media Team is responsible for writing resources, advice, and news on the BestDelegate.com website. The team includes:
Senior Leadership Team
Editor-in-Chief: Richard Zhao (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Editor of Training Resources: John Salchak (John.Salchak@nullbestdelegate.com)
Editor of Community Development: Elaine Miao (Elaine.Miao@nullbestdelegate.com)
Editor of MUNI Alumni Content: Rose Jacobs (email@example.com)
Social Media Manager: Genevieve Pool (Genevieve.Pool@nullbestdelegate.com)
Partnerships Manager: Judson Rogers (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Content Manager: Elodie Currier (Elodie.Currier@nullbestdelegate.com)
Multimedia Manager: Noran Alaa (Noran.Alaa@nullbestdelegate.com)
Media Associates of Training:
Munahil Sultana (Munahil.Sultana@nullbestdelegate.com)
Nathalie Ordonez (Nathalie.Ordonez@nullbestdelegate.com)
Priyan Selvakumar (Priyan.Selvakumar@nullbestdelegate.com)
Rohan Arora (Rohan.Arora@nullbestdelegate.com)
Dhruva Nistane (Dhruva.Nistane@nullbestdelegate.com)
Claire Wyszynski (Claire.Wyszynski@nullbestdelegate.com)
Media Associates of Community Development
Zoey Fisher (Zoey.Fisher@nullbestdelegate.com)
Kaitlyn Hammond (Kaitlyn.Hammond@nullbestdelegate.com)
Alexandros Economou (Alexandros.Economou@nullbestdelegate.com)
Christian John Ventura (email@example.com)
Media Associates of MUNI Alumni Content
Cassidy Baratta (Cassidy.Baratta@nullbestdelegate.com)
Anusha Tumallapalli (Anusha.Tumallapalli@nullbestdelegate.com)
Daniel Ordonez (Daniel.Ordonez@nullbestdelegate.com)
Lexi Rothschild-Edwards (Lexi.Rothschild-Edwards@nullbestdelegate.com)