More than 800 students gained a chance to experience the dynamics of the United Nations (UN); a valuable insight into the international realm of politics, during the American University of Sharjah Model United Nations (AUSMUN) conference held at AUS campus on February 8, 2018. A collaborative effort by AUS faculty and undergraduate students, AUSMUN is an innovative conference in which debates are fostered, alliances are created and thoughtful solutions are proposed to some of the most pressing issues of the present day. The opening ceremony was attended by Dr. Björn Kjerfve, AUS Chancellor, and other senior AUS officials.
Now in its Eleventh year, the three-day conference assigned each set of students a country to represent in a formal assembly. During debate, participants had to strictly reflect the policies and views of their assigned country. The main outcome of a Model UN is to write a resolution, which is a set of solutions for a particular topic, which can be adopted by the UN member states in a real scenario. Participants also acquired a diverse skill-set, ranging from negotiation and public speaking to leadership and teamwork.
The student delegates addressed a wide range of topics, including Human rights, Illegal organ trade, Poverty reduction, Security threats, Sustainable development, Water and food security, Weaponization of space, Youth empowerment, etc. To form a successful resolution, delegates had to negotiate their positions and make reasonable concessions, as would occur in a real diplomatic setting. The main objective for delegates was to engage in finding solutions to the problems being addressed by their respective committees.
An initiative of the Department of International Studies of the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS), this year’s conference featured 20 committees covering about 40 topics, offering the widest selection in AUSMUN history. From the 850 participating delegates from the GCC and beyond, 20 are from AUS, with the rest representing 30 secondary schools and 13 universities internationally.
During the opening ceremony, Dr. Mahmoud Anabtawi, Dean of CAS, welcomed the delegates and participating members and stressed on the importance for students to join and contribute to the MUN conference. He also spoke on the increased number of hundreds of participating students who have an interest to get an insight of the global realm of politics and explore the global issues facing the world currently.
According to Alia Al Hazami, Secretary-General of AUSMUN 2018, “The Conference has been a great experience for me as a student. I have been participating in it as a delegate, organizer, and board member, for the past 7 years. It never fails to teach me something new every year. I am proud to say that my involvement in the conference has shaped many qualities and skills I now possess.”