LAU Model United Nations delegates impress in New York
June 29, 2009—
Five Lebanese high school students representing LAU AL WALID GC–MUN — LAU’s established Model United Nations program — won three Honorable Mentions at the international MUN Tenth Annual High School Conference held May 14–16 at the United Nations Headquarters in New York.
At the renowned event organized by the United Nations Association of the United States, LAUMUN was also selected as one of the top five MUN programs in the world, defeating more than 200 participating delegations representing various countries.
“The students we worked with this year are remarkable. One of the distinguished traits our students had was team spirit,” says Oriane Chamoun, the secretary-general of the 2009 LAUMUN program. “While the students were in New York, other delegates were amazed at the depth and knowledge that our delegation possessed — and [our delegates] were applauded for their efforts,” Chamoun adds.
Topics such as international concern over a rise in separatist movements and the danger of nuclear weapons proliferation were tackled during simulated sessions. The students formed coalitions with other delegations and debated eloquently and diplomatically. Then, they arranged draft resolutions to persuade other delegates to take up their analyses.
The LAU representatives “demonstrated remarkable communication and negotiation skills and were able to defend their simulated countries’ positions, namely Belarus and Montenegro, with objectivity and accuracy,” says Elie Samia, project leader and director of LAU’s Guidance Office on the Byblos campus.
The delegation consisted of students Mohammad Nasser Halabi, Yasmine Abdul Hamid Hallab, Scarlet Gaby Rahy, Elsa Jihad Saade and Paul Ibrahim Succar who were accompanied by Chamoun and Samia.
Succar, Rahy and Saade were awarded the Honorable Mentions, which are given to the delegates who embody diplomacy and simulate their country’s position without going out of character, says Samia.
Rahy found the MUN experience to be personally and intellectually enriching. She said: “The MUN conferences in LAU and in New York taught us how to interact with people — delegates — from different cultures and cooperate with them in order to reach a solution.”
Halabi also gained much from the experience. “I have learned to accept others’ points of view and I have learned that the key to success lies in cooperation and group work.”
“To witness such a great transformation in our young students gives us great hope for our country’s future. The LAU Model UN  has marked the lives of over 1,000 students from all over Lebanon. The program teaches a culture of peace and negotiation among our youth which will hopefully lead to the spread of this culture all over the country,” says Chamoun.
A committee headed by Dr. Elise Salem, vice president for Student Development and Enrollment Management, selected the five high schoolers for their academic excellence and debate skills out of those who participated in this year’s LAUMUN program.
Read a story on this year’s final LAUMUN conference.
Other stories in: Outreach and Civic Engagement Office.