Over 300 delegates from 10 different countries and 26 different schools were at the American University in Dubai (AUD) this weekend for the Harvard Model Congress Dubai (HMCD), organized for the first time in the Middle East and one of the largest high school conferences of its kind in the region.
The event is the result of hard work and collaboration between the AUD Model United Nations organization (AUDMUN) student club and the Harvard Model Congress team in the US.
“I am pleased that AUD is able to host the Harvard Model Congress and that AUD students figure among those responsible for organizing this event,” commented Dr. Lance de Masi, President of AUD.
“The educational outcomes of the conference - knowledge of government and governance, communication skills and the art of finding the middle ground - so coincide with the capabilities citizens demand of their leaders. The opportunity to participate in such an undertaking, for both university mentors and high school novices, is nothing less than priceless. This is simply education in action,” he added.
HMCD is a government simulation conference run entirely by Harvard students who are passionate about international relations, government, and teaching. Organized by Harvard College Model Congress Middle East, a student organization at Harvard University, HMCD is committed to providing an immersive educational experience for high school students from across the globe.
Since the first Harvard Model Congress Boston conference in 1986, HMC has emerged as the leading international and government simulation programme for high school students. Attending the closing ceremony on Saturday, January 26, 2013, were Ambassador of the United States to the UAE Michael H. Corbin and Dr. Lance E. de Masi, President of AUD, along with other members of the AUD Community.
“For me, the Harvard Model Congress, as a student-run, international initiative, highlights the important role that the United Arab Emirates, coupled with partners from the U.S. higher educational system, can play in reaching out to youth across the Middle East. I congratulate the American University in Dubai for playing such an active role in organizing and hosting the programme, which I know will be extremely useful to the students participating in it,” commented Ambassador Corbin, who answered questions from the delegates on foreign policy and the relations between the USA and the UAE.
Eric Cervini, President of HMCD said, “We are incredibly lucky to have partnered with the American University in Dubai to host the inaugural session of Harvard Model Congress Dubai. More than 300 delegates from 11 countries debated, learnt, and interacted in a dynamic government simulation run entirely by 35 Harvard undergraduate volunteers. We are thrilled to have promoted our mission of furthering international cooperation and intercultural understanding during this event - the first of its kind in the region. Additionally, this conference would not have been possible without the incredible dedication, creativity, and hospitality of the AUD Model United Nations organization.”
Delegates gained knowledge and skills crucial to confronting the global challenges of the 21st century. Students learned both from the programme curricula and from engaging with one another. As they became more comfortable in presenting original ideas to their peers, delegates developed priceless argumentation and public speaking skills.
Topics discussed in the various committees, included Peaceful Development of Nuclear Technology and Nuclear Non-Proliferation; Child Soldiers and Achieving Millennium Development Goals; The Guinea-Bissau Political Crisis and Intervention in Syria.
Philip Apaza, President of The AUD Model United Nations organization explained, “The AUDMUN team is very excited to have hosted the HMCD staff in their inaugural conference in the Middle East. We hope that this conference helped high school students in the region recognize the opportunities laid out before them and helped them discover their true potential as the leaders of the next generation. An immense amount of work went in from the Harvard team and the AUDMUN to ensure the best experience possible for these delegates.”