The gavel sounded to begin and mark the end of ACS’s 15th Lebanese Model United Nations Conference. For the first time in the 15 year history, the conference was actually held on United Nations’ headquarters, at the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) building in Beirut.
In the audience were Board of Trustee members from ACS, Head of School Greg MacGilpin, Principals, Faculty and Staff as well as students from ACS, four Lebanese High Schools, the American International School in Cairo, Egypt and the Amman National School in Amman, Jordan. This year the conference theme was “Building Nation States”. Opening speaker, Dr. Maha Yahya, spoke about what a Nation State is and some of the fundamental things that create that sense of unity and identity. She cited a legal system, education, public events and rituals, architecture and probably the most important, the social contract; the rights and responsibilities of the citizens and the state.
Her speech was impactful to both the students and the adults in attendance. After Ms. Yahya’s comments, ACS Senior and LEBMUN General Secretary Daniel Harrich welcomed the delegates, Trustees, and gave special thanks to Ms. Rima Zein, the Teacher Coordinator of the ACS MUN Program. He also thanked ACS Webmaster Hasan Al-Masri for creating the LEBMUN webpages and the first online LEBMUN registration form.
After the speeches, coffee and croissants were served before the delegates went to work for the next three days on behalf of the country that they were assigned to represent. Similar to the real governing body, students at the conference assumed roles of General Secretary, ICC Chair, committee work and other roles as delegates or representatives from a particular nation. There were even UN administrators and a press corp.
On a daily basis, the UN Press Corp published a newspaper summarizing the days’ events. The daily papers can be viewed using this link. Sunday during the closing ceremony, 32 students received various awards for their comportment, diplomacy, special assistance to the conference and honorable mentions. After three days of intense negotiations the conference closed with some issues resolved, new ideas generated for the real UN and students looking forward to relaxing now that they have solved some international problems with creativity and integrity.