Students Break a Record of Wins at Harvard World MUN

The LAU delegation shines among 2,000 other students from the world over.

By Raissa Batakji

The LAU student delegates with AVP for OCE Elie Samia.

Last week, the LAU Model United Nations (LAU MUN) student delegation came home with 12 awards – a record number in the history of the university’s participation in the Harvard World Model United Nations (WorldMUN).

Dubbed the “Olympics of Model United Nations,” the WorldMUN website cites the conference as “the world’s most internationally diverse college-level Model UN conference,” with over 2,000 currently-enrolled college students taking part, hailing from more than 110 countries. The conference’s 28th annual edition was held from March 18 to 22 in Madrid, Spain, and the LAU student delegates were able to take part thanks to a collaboration between the Social Sciences Department and the Outreach and Civic Engagement Department (OCE).

The awards bestowed upon the LAU delegation – a total of 19 undergraduate students – recognized their skills in “diplomacy and verbal commendation” across a variety of fields, from health and sustainable development to conflict resolution and human rights.

In a commentary, LAU Assistant Vice President for OCE Elie Samia credited the students’ win to their “creativity coupled with discipline and practical aspiration,” adding that “this is a real testimony of academic and leadership legitimacy at LAU – as well as a celebration of our mission statement’s authenticity.”

LAU President Joseph G. Jabbra expressed equal pride with the students’ accomplishment. “To master the timely and impeccable execution of the subject matter in all its details, the meticulous research the chosen topic commands, the dexterity of the body language when speaking, and the timely eye gaze that speaks volumes without speaking, all reflect the stunning maturity of our student winners and the wisdom and caring of their role models,” he said in a statement, referencing and thanking their mentors at OCE.

Indeed, second-year Industrial Engineering student Sebastien Bechara was quick to credit his mentors at LAU, particularly Samia. He said that the experience was especially challenging, as he was the only delegate from LAU who was assigned to the World Health Organization. “I was working alongside graduate students from prominent law and medical schools, but still managed to match their skills and stand out,” he said, referring to his honorable mention and Verbal Commendation Award.

Commenting on her Diplomacy Award, Political Science and International Affairs major Reem Yehya agreed that it was a stimulating experience. “Working with top-notch model delegates from all over the world gives you the opportunity to explore a diversity of brilliant, enlightening ideas, but also challenges your resilience and capacity to debate.” She also credited her three years at LAU for having helped her “grow beyond my own expectations in terms of cognitive and social skills.”

Bechara concluded with a quote the LAU delegation had adopted and used as a motto for the duration of the conference: “In the UK, yesterday we had tea. Today, we have iced tea, but tomorrow we’re aiming for unity.”