Five questions with the Vancouver Campus Pinnacle recipient: Peter Mate

By Kenna Caprio

May 4, 2018 — The intimate environment, the thoughtful individuals and the international flair — that’s what Peter Mate will miss most about FDU’s Vancouver Campus after graduation. “I’ll miss the friendships I’ve built with my peers and faculty. These relationships helped me grow academically and personally,” says Mate, a second-generation Hungarian-Filipino-Canadian studying international relations and communications. He graduates summa cum laude, with BA in individualized studies, and will represent his campus as the Vancouver Pinnacle Award winner.

FDU: What motivates you academically?

Peter Mate
My hopes and dreams. More specifically, I’m motivated by international diplomacy and politics. I see many injustices in the world, and wish to be in a position to stop them.

FDU: Name a moment when you felt uncomfortable because someone or something challenged your understanding of the world. How did you grow?

There are two moments that challenged my understanding of the world.

The first was the 2016 U.S. election. I was crowded around a television in New York City’s Times Square, all of us tuned into the election results coming in from each state. Approaching the end of the night, the crowd’s deflation was palpable; I’ve never felt anything like that before or since.

The second was during my junior year, while studying at the Central European University in Budapest, Hungary. The Hungarian government passed legislation that would close the university. I remember the moment I read the proposed legislation, realizing the gravity of the situation.

Both these experiences taught me one thing: You must fight for the type of world you wish to live in.

FDU: How has a failure, or a seeming failure, led you to future success?

During the World Model United Nations conference in Seoul, South Korea, in 2015, I stumbled during my speeches and lacked tact in deliberations. I returned to Canada dejected, upset at myself for failing as a leader.

But, instead of giving up on Model UN, I set out to prove to myself that I was capable of leadership and to return to a major conference. With this goal in mind, I eventually became president of the Vancouver Campus’s Model UN club in 2016.

We began practicing in earnest for National Model United Nations in New York and succeeded in leading conference proceedings. My efforts paid off when my team and I were recognized as a “distinguished delegation.”

FDU: How are you making the world a better place?

I’m working with the Modernist Versions Project, an initiative involving FDU’s Vancouver Campus, the University of Victoria, Trinity College Dublin and the University of Texas at Austin. We are adding the works of Ernest Hemingway, Sigmund Freud and Oscar Wilde to the Canadian Digital Commons. I’ve helped transcribe the works, allowing low-income students to access literature that may be prohibitively expensive otherwise. These texts have been downloaded thousands of times by students throughout the United States and Canada. I also helped present the team’s work at the From Evidence to Scholarship Conference in Portland, Ore.

FDU: What's next for you after graduation?

My plan is to go to either graduate school or law school in Europe or the United States to study a combination of international public law and public policy. However, the first thing I need to do is take a break, so I’m planning to take a gap year to travel and spend time with family.