Ain Shams Model UN tackles problems worlds away from those on Egypt’s streets

CAIRO: University campuses all over the country, and especially in Cairo, have been host to a number of ongoing conflicts, as students struggle to complete classes amid protests and clashes. At Ain Shams university this week, however, recruitment opened for the board of the university’s Model United Nations club, ASMUN.

“As a medical student, our extracurricular activities are limited, but after the revolution I became more interested in politics, especially international ones,” Karim Osama told The Cairo Post, adding that ASMUN gave him chance to stay aware of global politics.

“ASMUN has made big difference in my life, improved my social skills, broadened my mind, and taught me that there is always a wider scope to look at things and that diversity is a good thing,” Osama added.

ASMUN was started by a group of students at the Faculty of Law and English Department in 2007, and  is organized by a committee of 30-40 students. Each year the club simulates the operations of the United Nations and its organs over 10 sessions culminating in a diplomatic conference.

“The delegates are exposed to a wide range of college students with different cultural and ideological backgrounds,” Senior Advisor, ASMUN ‘15 Alaa Adel told The Cairo Post.

“ASMUN aims to act as a platform for college students to engage and reach out to their social surroundings; this is achieved through ASMUN’s partnerships with charity organizations and NGOs and the partnerships agreements with other MUNs around the world which includes delegates’ exchange program,” Adel said.

ASMUN participated in the first annual Global MUN that was held in August 2009, in which they won Best Delegation.

Khawla Mattar, the spokeswoman for Joint Special Representative of the U.N. and the League of Arab States, attended the opening of ASMUN ‘13, and delivered a letter from U.N. Secretary General of the UN Ban Ki-Moon to ASMUN.

“Your participation in this Model UN comes at a time when the international community increasingly recognizes the power of young people to change our world,” Ban Ki-Moon said on April 24, 2013 in his letter to ASMUN.

“In ASMUN I learnt to listen to others who have different opinions, to read and follow up what is happening in the globe which is essential to form my political opinions,” member Ahmed Fekri told The Cairo Post.

Fekri added, “The first year in ASMUN was a great experience as I knew old Asmuners whom I learnt from their experience, however in the following years it was quite different as I got to pass on my experience.”

“ASMUN is not just a simulation of the U.N.; it is a complete community where you get to have new family where you learn from each other, through academic material, which is related to current events, politics, human rights, economic and social issues, or soft skills like communication skills, public speaking, team work and leadership,” former senior advisor Nagham Salah, a fourth-year medical student, told The Cairo Post.

Baher Nassar, a model UN participant for 6 years told the Cairo Post, “ASMUN as a leading student activity in our university is helping each and every participant in discovering their true selves in many methods and directions, as it can go through the academic skills or the organizing skills and even the social skills.”

“I guess that ASMUN gives the youth the power of choice, not only to choose their candidate, but to think and choose what they believe in and not to be dragged alongside with the others,” Nassar added.

In our council, we discussed the reasons that lead to economical and social problems among countries,” President of Economic and Social Council’14 Islam Mohey told The Cairo Post.

Advocate coach Nouran Gamal told The Cairo Post “The sessions of the International Court of Justice dealt mainly with international law and legal principles as each year’s case might require new legal principles according to the facts of the case presented in the conference.”

“The crisis coordinator in the Security Council is responsible for the academic content discussed in the sessions and any case studies that is used to illustrate the theme. He is the one responsible for the crises discussed in the conference and the updates used to guide the crisis to a certain conclusion,” Crisis Coordinator of Security Council Alaa Adel told The Cairo Post.

 “During the sessions in ASMUN ’14 we discussed two topics: human trafficking and slums,”hPresident of CDH Menna Shaheed told The Cairo Post.

The topics for the coming year have not yet been determined. All of the members debate and work on their topics in English, however a forum exists for those who wish to work on their French language skills; Human Rights Council sessions are conducted in French, Shaheed said, adding that the goal is to help students develop their  speaking, communication and presentation skills.

ASMUN also began 2013 a partnership with HamMUN, one of the biggest model United Nations associations in Germany.

ASMUN receives financial support by Ain Shams University and academic sponsorship by the United Nations Information Center, who signs ASMUN’s Certificates, it is fully organized by students, Nagham told The Cairo Post.

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