Simulation Programs Close Off Another Youth Leadership Development Year

MUN, MAL and MEU recognize their top delegates and celebrate ever-growing programs.

By Raissa Batakji

The three secretary generals strike their gavels announcing the year’s closing: (From left) MAL Secretary General Maya Makarem, MEU Director General Mohamad Ali Kalassina and MUN Secretary General Alec Hagopian.
Samia announced that an additional program, the Model African Union (MAU), will be introduced next year.
A group of student-delegates receive their awards.
The three simulation programs initiated a drive to “Plant a Smile on a Child’s Face.” The donations collected from student-delegates and their schools were used to buy toys for orphans from Dar Al Aytam Islamiya, Maytam Saida and SOS.

Since 2005, LAU’s simulation programs have become a staple of student leadership across Lebanon, led by the university’s Outreach and Civic Engagement (OCE) Department. On Sunday June 16, Beirut campus buzzed with excitement as the programs’ school students, LAU student-secretariat, faculty, staff, representatives from non-profit organizations, and parents arrived to celebrate the closing of Model United Nations (MUN), Model Arab League (MAL) and Model European Union (MEU).

Speaking at the ceremony, Assistant Vice President for OCE Elie Samia declared that “we have built bridges for optimism, connection, and diplomacy, from Sidon, to Beirut and Byblos and all the way to New York City.” To the sound of echoing cheers from the audience, he announced that an additional program, the Model African Union (MAU), will be introduced next year.

Samia further commended the delegates for well-earned 569 awards as well as 212 university scholarships. Addressing the students, Samia called on them to embrace the age of “SMAC: that is, you becoming Social, Mobile, Analytic and Cloud – meaning digitally connected.”

The three secretary generals for each of the programs then spoke about the collective efforts it took to reap success, and recognized members of their secretariat and student awardees for their hard work.

The program with the highest reach, and the biggest MUN cohort worldwide, Global Classrooms LAU MUN trained 3,300 students this year on both campuses under the slogan “We Believe in YOU(TH).” Secretary General Alec Hagopian thanked advisors for “having faith in student leadership,” and affirmed that for a program that “loves to fall in love with problems, it has inspired students to come out with innovative solutions of their own.”

OCE simulation programs-07.jpg

For MAL, the theme for the year was Reviving Arab Leadership and has included 1,300 students who trained at LAU Beirut and the LAU Outreach and Leadership Academy (OLA) in Sidon. Secretary General and LAU alumna Maya Makarem spoke in Arabic in line with the program’s call for preserving the Arab identity. She dubbed the simulation programs a school of thought that leaves a mark of civic responsibility in each of its veterans, who turn the lessons they’ve learned into life-long convictions.

As for MEU Director General Mohamad Ali Kalassina, every single region in Lebanon has potential to become “a standard for diplomacy, an example for democracy, a hub for diversity, and a stage for development.” This year, MEU ran its training in both English and French across both campuses and trained 500 delegates.

Walking in procession, school students received numerous awards and certificates, which were presented by members of the LAU student-secretariat of the corresponding program.

The ceremony also featured a performance by Rudy Abi Hanna from Sagesse Brasilia School, and was emceed by Sarah Boustany, who was the deputy secretary general for GC LAU MUN.