Popular Programs Back For New Academic Year

LAU simulation program participants gather to inaugurate the 2018 season.

By Fatima Abdul Rassool

New trainees being sworn into their simulation programs.
Secretary General of 14th LAU High School & 9th Middle School MUN Alec Hagopian.
Secretary General of 8th LAU High School & 3rd Middle School MAL Maya Makarem.
Director General of 3rd LAU High School MEU Mohamad Ali Kalassina.

On Saturday October 6, hundreds of enthusiastic trainees, teachers and guests gathered at Irwin Auditorium on Beirut campus to launch this academic year’s simulation programs: Global Classrooms Lebanese American University Model United Nations (GC LAU MUN), the Model Arab League (LAU MAL), and the Model European Union (LAU MEU). 

The programs involve LAU students training middle and high schoolers from across Lebanon in simulations of the international bodies. Since 2005, more than 3,000 LAU student leaders have spent over 2.5 million hours training 30,550 Lebanese secondary-school students. LAU grants around 160 scholarships per year to participants of the program.

LAU MAL Secretary General Maya Makarem kicked off the ceremony by welcoming attendees and opening up the floor for President Joseph G. Jabbra, who addressed the impact of globalization on today’s world. “There are no more borders in this world. Globalization, fueled by technology, has successfully brought down the walls of separation between the tribes of the global village.”

He stressed the importance of cultivating connectedness in order to diminish violence on a global scale and praised the simulation programs for instilling a culture of peace, ethics and dialogue.

The programs have been so successful that for the fourth year in a row, LAU has been entrusted by the United Nations Association of the United States of America to lead the two large Model UN International Conferences that take place in New York at the UN Headquarters every spring.

This year, the programs are being managed by more than 450 LAU students – referred to as secretariat members – who are divided into groups such as the training, logistics, school relations, and public information teams.

LAU MEU Director General Mohamad Ali Kalassina took the stage to welcome Assistant Vice President for Outreach and Civic Engagement (OCE) Elie Samia, who directs the simulation programs.

“What distinguishes these programs is their instilment of connectedness and diversity,” Samia told the crowd. “Our student leaders teach resilience, confidence, and communication skills to the participants, promoting character and respect.” 

GC LAU MUN Secretary General Alec Hagopian agreed on the programs’ impact. “It not only taught me diplomacy, negotiation and research skills – it taught me how to believe in myself, and how to have the courage to create a vision and aspire to achieve it.” 

For Lidia Makarem – a new trainer at LAU MAL, who hopes to help delegates conquer their fear of public speaking, find solutions to major problems and draft resolutions – “The program is one of the best experiences that I’ve ever had here at LAU. It’s truly inspiring to have middle and high school students come from all over Lebanon and look up to you as their leader and role model.”