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Nine top MUN students from all over Israel competed in the Yale MUN conference in a Debate for Peace delegation that lasted from January 14-21. The trip included visits to UNHQ in NYC, interfaith meetings, discussions with scholars and experts, and of course the competition at Yale, one of the largest Model UN conferences in the world.

 

The delegation included top MUN students from schools in Akko, Even Yehuda, Haifa, Iksal, Mazkeret Batya, Netanya, Petah Tiqva, and Sakhnin. On January 15th, their first full day in the US, the group met with Eddie Ashkenazie of the Diarna project, to learn about the digital mapping of Jewish heritage sites. From there they visited the UN, the Kosovo Consulate General, and the Swiss Mission to the UN. At the Kosovo Consulate, Ines Demiri hosted an interfaith discussion including Imam Dr. Tahir Kukaj and Rabbi Joshua Stanton. While in NYC the group also visited the 9/11 Memorial, and after some sightseeing, met with Sheikh Musa Drammeh in the Bronx to learn about his efforts to promote peace and understanding between different faiths.

 

 

 

After traveling to New Haven, the delegation began with the focal point of the trip--the Yale Model UN conference. After an opening reception for the international delegations, the delegates were divided into one of approximately 40 committees to begin debates. The second day of the conference was Yale Day, highlighting Yale’s academics and campus. Debate for Peace met with Sari Bashi, a visiting human rights fellow at Yale law school, to discuss efforts to improve human rights and freedom of mobility for Palestinians. Next, they met with Professor Frank Griffel for pizza and a wide-ranging discussion on academic research, Judeo-Arabic, and Islam.

 

After three intense days of MUN, the closing ceremony of YaleMUN XLV was held on January 20th. Aviv Hanuka, from Sharet Netanya, won Outstanding Delegate in the G20 committee, and Mihal Mizrahi, from the Hadassim school, received second place in the photography category of the Yale arts competition.

 

Saeed Salem, from Ort Hilmi Shafie in Akko, told Diplomacy that the Yale delegation had been “one of the best experiences in my life," and that he was “sad because it ended but happy it happened." Julian Azzam, from the Convent of Nazareth School in Haifa agreed, saying “The experience at YaleMUN was definitely different than anything else I have seen.” Hanna Zohn De Garay from Hadassim added that “a lot of people in our world have the ability to talk, only a few have enough wisdom to learn how to listen. Those are the ones that can make the big necessary changes that we need to make in our world.”

 

Steven Aiello, the director of Debate for Peace, thanked the YaleMUN XLV organizers for helping to make this delegation happen, including providing a regional scholarship that made the trip financially feasible.

 

The upcoming Debate for Peace MUN delegation will be to MEDIMUN in Nicosia, Cyprus.

For more information see Debateforpeace.org

 Photo credit: Debate for Peace