The AUBMUN Club provides the opportunity for hardworking, well-rounded individuals to travel abroad and compete with thousands of other university students in United Nations simulation conferences all over the world. The club, however, does much more than that: it brings together students who are interested in socio-political affairs, makes a family out of them, and teaches them how to go about making an impact in the world.
“In many ways, it is the perfect extracurricular activity, with the right mix of research and its emphasis on interpersonal skills,” said Anthony Mattar El Raachini, the president of AUBMUN. “I’m also passionate about the values it promotes: compassion, understanding, putting yourself in another person’s shoes, and realizing that, on any issue, there are more than one valid viewpoint since you’re not taking the stance of your own country at a Model United Nations Conference.”
The club recently acquired its new name, going from the “International Affairs Club” when it started seven years ago to the “AUBMUN Club” this year, so that the name better reflects on what members do in the club, according to El Raachini.
The 175 currently-registered members are trained, through workshops and five simulation conferences hosted by the club, and only a few are selected through a competitive selection process to travel for the three global conferences that AUBMUN takes part of: MUNTR in Turkey, WorldMUN hosted by Harvard, and NMUN in New York.
Members are judged based on how well they debate from the perspective of their selected countries, which often shows through their interaction, lobbying, and their advocacy. Cabinet members, who are voted on during the previous year, also get to travel and compete. Traveling can be costly, but the club is sponsored mainly by the United Student-Faculty Committee, as well as New York-based donor Lloyd Baroody, and Creditbank.
This year was one of record-breaking for the AUBMUN Club.
Aside from winning the Outstanding Delegation Award at NMUN for the first time in AUB history, the club also won a total of 10 out of 14 individual awards for their delegates at MUNTR and four awards at the WorldMUN conference.
“The people and the conference itself surpassed my expectations,” said Reem Hammoud, one of the delegates who won a diplomacy award at the Harvard conference hosted in Montreal. “Who else can say they traveled with some of their closest friends to one of the coldest cities in the world to partake in the most intense four days of their lives? The experience itself was incredible, the award was just the icing on the cake.”
Harvard WorldMUN hosts around 3000 delegates each year from over 120 countries. This year, AUB’s delegation of 10 travelled to Montreal from March 13 till March 17 to compete.
Delegations at the WorldMUN conference typically have a winning rate of five percent, according to El Raachini, but the AUBMUN delegation had a winning ratio of 40 percent.
The WorldMUN delegates were as follows: Joseph N. Geagea as the Head Delegate who also won a diplomacy award, Reem Hammoud, Mona Jouni, Joy Habbouche, Kimberly Sarkis, Omar Beyhum, Philippe Assi who earned an honorable mention, Serene Habbal, Camille Mroue, and Yara Barbar, who also earned an honorable mention.
As for MUNTR, the conference is hosted in Antalya on a yearly basis, with the 2017 AUBMUN delegation competing from March 6 until March 10. This year, delegates were asked to debate topics such as restructuring post-conflict zones and improving the effectiveness of the Outer-Space Treaty.
“This is AUBMUN’s strongest showing at the conference yet,” said President Anthony Mattar El Raachini.
The MUNTR delegation and their awards are as follows: Head Delegate Malika Elhage (Honorable Mention), Lara Chahine (Best Delegate Award), Ruba Al Bizri (Outstanding Delegate), Sara Jane Khoustekian (Outstanding Delegate), Sally Farah (Honorable Mention), Rawan Chaker (Honorable Mention), Ahmad Tayara (Honorable Mention), Razan Ghalayini (Honorable Mention), Karim Khatib (Verbal Commendation), Hanna Resch (Verbal Commendation), Gabrielle Antar, Fatima Haidar, Amine Akel, and Miriam Sadaka
“We got to see the formal side of everyone during the day and the crazy side at night,” said Ruba Al Bizri. “Each day was rich with memories, diverse friendships, and lessons about cultural backgrounds, problem-solving, and the politics of teamwork and leadership.”
Being a part of AUBMUN and travelling abroad “is a once in a lifetime experience that gets you out of your comfort zone,” according to Myriam Sadaka, who was referencing MUNTR.
“Working with delegates from all around the world and discussing international issues improved my debating skills and empowered me on a personal level,” she added.
The club provides its members with a valuable skillset, one that revolves around critical thinking, teamwork, and diplomacy, for the modern world. AUBMUN, as part of a larger culture of Model United Nations, is a gateway to a cross-cultural experience that is equally competitive and collaborative, an effort to work together and solve issues that concern all people.
“Harvard WorldMUN was an exceptional opportunity to realize how prominent it is to invest collaborative efforts for common good,” said delegate Yara Barbar. “A motivation to leave, even if small, an impact in this world.”