LAU’s simulation models underway for the new academic year
The efforts and achievements of LAU’s simulation programs in promoting the arts of diplomacy, peacebuilding, and collaboration lauded at inauguration ceremony.
On October 7, the Medical Auditorium on LAU’s Byblos campus filled to overflowing, as a number of distinguished guests joined students, faculty and staff to witness the annual inauguration of the university’s highly regarded diplomacy simulation programs.
The inauguration kicked off with a video introducing the LAU High School and Middle School United Nations (LAU MUN), High School and Middle School Model Arab League (LAU MAL), and High School Model European Union (LAU MEU). All three bring together high- and middle-school students from across Lebanon to be trained by LAU students — under the guidance of LAU’s Outreach and Civic Engagement Office (OCE) — in the varied arts of diplomacy, peacebuilding, teamwork and collaboration.
“You are an inspiration, a role model for our leaders,” said LAU President Joseph G. Jabbra, addressing the student members of the LAU MUN, MAL and MEU Secretariats. “You are going to revolutionize what’s going on in Lebanon and beyond, through peaceful means, using the instruments of peace in order to make sure that the conflicts rocking the very foundation of our society in Lebanon and across the region are laid to rest once and for all.”
Following Jabbra’s address, MP Bahia Hariri, president of the Hariri Foundation for Sustainable Human Development — LAU’s partner in bringing the simulation programs to public school students across Lebanon — highlighted the importance of training students to interact with people, nations, and global citizenship. “The Arab League, along with the United Nations and the European Union, has contributed to protecting the independence and sovereignty of the Arab nations,” she said, underscoring the pride she takes in the foundation’s partnership with LAU and in the students’ achievements.
LAU Assistant Vice President for Outreach and Civic Engagement Elie Samia presented compelling data on the impact that the programs have had since their introduction to LAU 13 years ago. “LAU MUN, MAL and MEU exemplify LAU’s commitment to developing the leadership skills of its students,” said Samia. Indeed, hundreds of students from different majors “come together to train more than 5,000 middle- and high-school students annually, elevating Lebanese and Arab youth by imparting life skills that make them enlightened world citizens,” he added.
Bringing down the gavel and declaring the inauguration of the LAU MUN program, student trainer Fouad El Kadi — secretary general of this year’s MUN — spoke passionately about its impact on Lebanese youth. “MUN is not only about training diplomats, but also about bringing together networks of people with different ideas and common goals,” he said. Through the program, the young trainees “learn that nothing is impossible. Here, they learn that they can change the world for the better.”
Similarly, Sandrine Frem — secretary general of the LAU High School and Middle School MAL — noted the need to “instill a glimmer of hope in the hearts of the youth who cannot see past the injustices of war and daily hardships,” pledging that her team will “forge ahead with reviving the spirit of responsibility, diplomacy and leadership.”
In turn, Ameer Al Samman, director general of LAU High School MEU, expressed hope that “through MEU, a culture of peace, fellowship, tranquility and prosperity will transfer into the minds of our youth until one day they themselves become the model for others to emulate.”
In addition to the three simulation programs in Lebanon itself, since 2015 LAU has been in charge of the prestigious Global Classrooms International Model UN middle- and high-school conferences in New York City, in partnership with the United Nations Association of the United States of America (UNA-USA). Reflecting the growing international footprint of LAU’s diplomatic simulation activities and their positive effect on youth both locally and globally, this year’s inauguration in Byblos was attended by members of the Beirut diplomatic community, including the Ambassador of Tunisia, the Consuls General of Lesotho, Mauritius, and the Seychelles, the Yemeni Cultural Attaché, a representative of the Singaporean embassy, and representatives of the consulates of Chad and Gabon.