The Students of the American School of Palestine Participate in the “MUN Model United Nations Conference” with the Support of National Beverage Company
Ramallah- The skills and approaches of raising of awareness and the ability to argue, debate, and embrace the opinion and culture of others were gained from the participation of a group of Palestinian male and female students from the American School of Palestine in the annual “MUN Model United Nations Conference” which was organized in the Turkish city of Antalya last week. More than 1000 university and secondary students from various countries participated in the conference.
The group who participated in the international conference this year with the sponsorship of the National Beverage Company Coca-Cola/Cappy (NBC) for the 4th consecutive year comprised of 10 students, including 6 female students.
This is the 8th participation by the American School of Palestine whereas the MUN Model United Nations conference aims at familiarizing the students with the functioning approach of UN and its committees, including the constructive dialogue and reaching of solutions, as well as representing their governments before the international society.
About her participation in the MUN Model United Nations Conference for the second time, student Yasmin El-Sahely, 18 years old, affirmed that she had a new and different experience this year. She said: “This time, we managed to compete on a higher level, especially as most of the participants are university students who are specialized in different majors, mostly political science and the law”.
She added: “Our experience was in the simulation of the UN International Labor Organization (ILO) which is concerned with protecting the labor rights as we represented Afghanistan and our discussions focused on liberation from forced labor and child labor and other labor and life problems facing Afghanistan”.
Although Yasmin and her colleagues in the group represented Afghanistan, they managed through their discussions with the participating delegates to draw a picture of the life of the Palestinian people other than the stereotyped picture embraced by some citizens of the countries which are geographically far from Palestine. According to Alaa Al-Ras, 18 years old, “Now we can say that we are highly capable of representing Palestine in the international forums, and we can assume this huge responsibility to introduce our culture, traditions, and issues to the people as many participants were curious to learn more about Palestine”.
Alaa emphasized that representing Afghanistan which faces tough political and living conditions required the group to conduct in-depth research of the nature of the political and economic regime of Afghanistan and to review its laws and then they attempted to come up with solutions that would contribute in changing the reality, most importantly, ensuring security and safety for the people. Alaa said: “It was a challenging task but the experience was nice and new and its success would mean a lot to us, especially as we try stand up for issues that do not represent us which improves our knowledge and culture and expands our perceptions”.
Such new experiences gained by the students in terms of the dialogue approaches and accepting of the other opinion and embracing of other cultures, in addition to trying to adapt the ILO laws with the individual needs gave Alaa a new hope that UN would play a more effective role in changing the reality of the countries and enacting laws that respond to the peoples’ aspirations.
Since a larger number of students participated this year, the students’ participation was stronger and more outstanding, according to student Yasmin who said that “the number of students made a difference in addition to the large number of international participants. However, in the MUN Model United Nations Conference every person had a fair opportunity to participate, speak, and make decisions”. Yasmin noted that NBC support was crucial to her participation and the participation of other nine students as NBC covered their considerable expenses.
Yazan El-Houdally, 17 years old, and the youngest student in the group, said he is happy and proud to have this opportunity to participate in the conference and to reflect a bright image of Palestine to the international society and to demonstrate a picture of life in Palestine. Yazan said: “This experience taught us a lot and we presented new knowledge and information to the participants. I would like to extend thanks to the school administration and supervisors and to NBC which enabled us to have this experience through which we received moral support from our parents who wanted us to participate”.
Yazan noted that practicing of the democratic system in the MUN Model United Nations will help the students a lot when they select their majors in the university and will build up their characters to be able to go through their university and practical life.
Regarding NBC sponsorship of the participation of the Palestinian students in MUN Model United Nations Conference for the 4th time which complements NBC’s social role and attention to refine the students’ skills and enabling them to gain the skills of leadership and ability to make a change, Mr. Imad al-Hindi, General Manager of NBC, noted that development of the academic, cognitive, and cultural skills of the students should be the mission of the educational institutions and the private sector together. He added: “In NBC we strongly believe in the importance of the cultural and intellectual return and learning of dialogue and problem solving approaches and we realize that such experiences open up the students’ perceptions and enable them to lead a healthy life”.
In addition to his pride of the success of such students experience for many years in a row, Mr. al-Hindi praised the efforts of the American School of Palestine administration which aim at further academic and creative development for the students in the curricular and extracurricular activities and bringing up more educated generations who are more capable of changing the reality and building a promising future.
In turn, instructor Areej Tayseer Farsakh, Manager of the MUN Model United Nations Program at the American School of Palestine, who escorted the students in their journey to Antalya, believes that the students participation in the international conference is extremely important to reform their personalities, self-fulfillment, and to stand up for their convictions, especially that MUN conference in Turkey included a considerable number of participants from different nationalities; including UK, Bulgaria, Pakistan, Jordan, Lebanon, among other countries.
She added: “The Palestinian group was the youngest which made it more challenging for them and they managed to introduce and exchange new information with the others”.
Farsakh noted the significant contribution provided by NBC sponsorship of the participation of the students in the conference. She affirmed that covering of the travel expenses of such large group relieved the school from a huge burden. Farsakh valued NBC’s attention which matches the school’s aspiration to provide the new generation with positive attitudes such as assuming of responsibility, engaging with new communities, and being familiarized with different cultures. Such attitudes will help them to overcome shyness and fear and to build a new bold and intellectually mature personality and then sharing of their experience with their friends at the school.