The Final Conference 2008

Following a series of training sessions and a UN simulation over the past five months, the Global Classrooms – LAU Model UN program wrapped up its activities this month, with a two-day final conference that included committee sessions and “Global Village” celebrations on the Beirut campus, and a ceremony at UNESCO.

More than 900 students from high schools across Lebanon, and representing various countries, participated in committee sessions over two days. For the first time, a regional delegation consisting of six Qatari high school students, who had come to Beirut few days before to attend a training session, participated in the final conference.

Through formal and informal debate and following rules of procedure, the delegates discussed different topics depending on their committee. After stating their countries’ and blocs’ positions and making amendments on draft papers, they voted on the final resolutions.

On May 3, the large family of GC–LAUMUN, including delegates, school teachers, LAU MUN staff, and other guests, had the chance to attend the “Global Village” celebrations in front of the Fine Arts Building. Around 70 stands, decorated with flags, posters, images, and souvenirs, were set up to showcase the cultural heritage of various countries. Dressed in traditional costumes, delegates offered their national foods and danced to the rhythm of diverse music genres.

This year’s activities were concluded in a ceremony held on May 4 at UNESCO, in the presence of over 900 people, including ministers, ambassadors, sponsors, representatives of UN agencies, local and regional advisors and high school students, LAU officers, and GC–LAUMUN team members.

The program included a welcoming speech by LAU President Joseph Jabbra who praised the delegates' efforts of learning “how to resolve conflicts by peaceful means…by the force of argument, not the argument of force.”

Representatives of the three LAUMUN sponsors—Merrill Lynch Lebanon Chairman Makram Zaccour, BBAC Chairman Sheikh Ghassan Assaf, and Arabia Insurance CEO Fadi Shammas—and Dr. Tarek Sayegh representing Lebanese Minister of Culture Tarek Mitri addressed the audience.

Dr. Jabbra introduced a new program called AL-WALID: Alpha Leadership Web for Arab Leaders in International Diplomacy, which would be sponsored by the Alwaleed Bin Talal Humanitarian Foundation. He then presented Dr. Leila Solh Hamade, president of the foundation, with an Honorable Commemoration for “Humanitarian Care and Philanthropy.”

Prominent delegates from the various committees received diplomacy, position papers, and secretary-general awards. The four GC–LAUMUN 2008 secretariat directors were also awarded for their hard work.

One of the unexpected moments of the evening was the large bouquet that representatives of three LAU MUN generations offered to Dr. Layla Nimah, Chair of the GC–LAUMUN Steering Committee, as an expression of gratitude for her commitment to the program. Nimah, who spearheaded the initiative as the then-SDEM vice president, said: “Don’t allow the nightmare of today to darken your tomorrow. Dream and dream and dream for a better Lebanon.”

Secretary-General Chaanine concluded the ceremony by announcing the graduation of “the third batch of GC–LAUMUN ambassadors who will spread these newly acquired skills of diplomacy and peaceful conflict resolution to Lebanon and the Arab World.”