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LAU’s Global Classrooms-Model UN wraps up its second year

May 2, 2007—

More than 660 high-schoolers from across Lebanon convened in Beirut this weekend for the second annual Global Classrooms–LAU Model UN, a program initiated by the United Nations Association of the United States of America and designed to engage young people in debate about current issues affecting the world.

At the conference held on LAU’s Beirut campus, simulated UN committee meetings let participants test diplomatic skills acquired in a series of Saturday workshops led by LAU students as they wrote resolutions on topics such as the protection of women and children refugees, multinational corporations and development, religious intolerance, and the illicit trade of light weapons.

After these sessions, the high-school students—representing nearly 100 nations—set up a global village in front of the Safadi Fine Arts Building, where they achieved mutual understanding through food and drink and dance. On Sunday, a rousing closing ceremony at the UNESCO palace honored UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon Geir O. Pedersen and the late Lebanese minister and deputy George Frem.

In addition to words of encouragement from President Jabbra and Pedersen, the young “excellencies” and “ambassadors”—as Lebanon’s culture minister Tarek Mitri dubbed them—also heard about Frem’s belief in “servant leadership…a fine, subtle, almost elegant balance of stature and humility, strength and goodness, compassion and wisdom…and above all energy and passion in serving his purpose.”

Next year, says Model UN Secretary-General Samer Rachid, a fourth-year industrial engineering student, LAU hopes to incorporate some real-world diplomacy into its program—until now, the only one of its kind in the Middle East—by inviting students from other countries in the region to take part.


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