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About Us

Supporting educators is core to our work

Established in 2013, Foundations for Leadership Inc. (FFL) is a non-profit educational organization dedicated to preparing young people for success in education, career, and civic life. Our commitment extends to projects that foster empathy, diplomacy, and a mindset for bringing people together.

 

We believe that every student should have access to enriching programs that empower them academically and prepare them for their future. To achieve this, we collaborate closely with educational institutions and partners, expanding the Model UN community by delivering a holistic "teaching and learning" experience.

 

Drawing on over 20 years of experience in creating and administering Model UN programs, we offer a wealth of knowledge to design impactful learning opportunities. Our comprehensive support encompasses classroom resources, teacher training, delegate workshops, and local conferences, ensuring a year-round commitment to student growth.

Meet Us

Amy Ruggiero
Founding Executive Director

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With over two decades of experience in corporate and nonprofit settings, Amy oversees program development and operations at FFL. Before launching Foundations for Leadership, she served as the Director of Education at the United Nations Foundation, where she developed and managed Model UN programs and youth leadership initiatives worldwide, spanning the USA, Europe, the Middle East, Asia, Africa, and Latin America.

Liz Alarcón
Model UN Facilitator

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​Liz has extensive experience in Model UN as a delegate, staff member, and public school teacher. She facilitates teacher workshops and staff training. Liz is a former Fulbright Scholar to Costa Rica and holds a B.A. in International Studies and Sociology from the University of Miami, as well as a Master's in Democracy and Governance in Latin America from the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University.

Student
Leadership

Osei Allen

Co-President, University of Miami Model UN, UM '25

MDMUN 2023, MDMUN 2024

Zak Djahed

University of Miami Model UN, UM '27
Secretary-General, MDMUN High School 2025

MDMUN 2024

Giovanna Antoniassi Aires Garcia

Co-President, University of Miami Model UN, UM '25

MDMUN 2023, MDMUN 2024

Mary Elizabeth Gomez
President, Miami Dade College Model UN, MDC '25

Secretary-General, MDMUN Middle School 2025

MDMUN 2023, MDMUN 2024

Felix Nikel

St. Petersburg College Model UN, SPC '25

PCMUN 2023, PCMUN 2024

Advisors

Michael J. Lenaghan, EdD
Mardee Jenrette Endowed Teaching Chair, Professor of Political Science/International Relations, Miami Dade College and the Honors College

Ned Rinalducci, PhD
Chair, Department of Social Sciences

Miami Dade College

Douglas Rivero, PhD

Assistant Dean & Professor, College of Social & Behavioral Sciences & Human Services, St. Petersburg College

Lucia Rodriguez, PhD
Director, Global Master's in Development Practice (MDP) Secretariat, Sustainable Development Solutions Network, SDG Academy Division

Joseph Smiley, Ed.D.

Dean, Social & Behavioral Sciences, St. Petersburg College

Kelly Siegel-Stechler, PhD

Senior Researcher, CIRCLE at Tufts University

Partners

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