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AUS hosts Model United Nations conference for 600 students from UAE and regional schools
American University of Sharjah (AUS) held its annual Model United Nations (AUSMUN) conference February 25-27, 2016 on campus. Opened by Dr. Björn Kjerfve, AUS Chancellor, AUSMUN is a collaborative effort of AUS undergraduate students who have spent a year creating a platform where alliances are created and debates are fostered, and solutions are proposed to some of the most pressing issues of the present day. An initiative of the Department of International Studies of the College of Arts and Sciences, the conference this year featured 10 committees to facilitate this process, offering the widest selection in AUS history.
Attended by over 600 high school and undergraduate students, the three-day conference, now in its ninth year, allowed student delegates to simulate the various United Nations committees and develop a sound understanding of international relations and diplomacy. In the process, students exercised their skills of research, negotiation and public speaking.
During the opening ceremony, Chancellor Kjerfve, welcomed the students to campus and wished them the best of success in the conference. "The Model United Nations is an excellent program that has gained popularity among school and university students across the globe. We, at AUS, are very pleased to see the delegates here and look forward to engaging sessions held over the next couple of days," said Chancellor Kjerfve.
Chancellor Kjerfve also encouraged the visitors to walk through AUS and see the new exciting features on campus, including the new trading floor in the School of Business Administration and the new studio facility in the mass communication program.
Also welcoming the delegates were Omar Al Mutawa, Secretary-General of AUSMUN, and Deema AlShamsi, Deputy Secretary-General of AUSMUN. The AUS Choir then performed a rendition of "We are the World" for the audience.
AUSMUN Participating students simulate United Nations activities by representing a member state or an organization in a formal assembly. According to Dr. Johannes van Gorp, Assistant Professor of International Studies, "At AUSMUN, delegates gain valuable insight into the international realm of politics, especially extensively researching and echoing the policies of their assigned countries. Initially when AUSMUN began, it involved around 100 high school and university students from around the region. The current board members have managed to grow the conference to include representatives from regional schools, including those in Kuwait, Egypt and Jordan."
Delegates pick one of various committees and address different topics, ranging from security concerns to the environment, public health to economic and social issues. The main objective of each delegate is to engage in finding solutions to the problem his/her committee is addressing. Consequently, within a committee, delegates form groups and draft resolutions. Once that stage is complete, the resolution is reviewed and upon approval, it is presented to the committee. Once the majority in the committee is satisfied with the resolution, the resolution can be passed in a voting procedure.
The aim of AUSMUN is to have delegates develop a sound understanding of international relations. Many of the organizers are international relations students, and the faculty advisors are renowned academics. The delegates left the conference with a significantly improved understanding of international relations and organizations.