On Thursday, January 28th, the US Embassy's American Center in Jerusalem hosted a Model UN conference including 60 Arab and Jewish students from Petah Tikva, Tira, Taybe, Baqa al-Gharabiya and Modiin. The students represented countries ranging from Albania to the United Arab Emirates, and they spent 5 hours debating and negotiating before producing resolutions on the conflict in Burundi, and on the topic of Refugees.
Both are very salient issues: the Burundi committee, acting as the Security Council, passed a resolution authorizing an African Union peacekeeping intervention into Burundi, about 72 hours before the African Union itself stepped back from its threat to intervene in Burundi. The Refugee committee convened about 48 hours before Europol’s warning that 10,000 refugee children are missing.
At the awards ceremony, Yehuda Stolov of the Interfaith Encounters Association, a cosponsor of the event, American Center Director Bill Murad, and Rachel Amrani, Director of the Young Ambassadors program, all addressed the students, before awards were handed out to the top students from each committee. The event was also covered by AlHurra News to be aired in Jerusalem, Beirut, Dubai, Cairo and Washington, DC.
"The Young Ambassadors School is a youth leadership program run by the Petah Tikva Municipality under Mrs. Rachel Amrani. The goal of the program is to create, empower and support a new generation of young leaders, with all of the knowledge, skills and experience to succeed. The program is geared for students in grades 8-12 and includes courses in journalism, leadership, public speaking, diplomacy and Model United Nations. In addition, Young Ambassadors have the opportunity to volunteer, receive delegations of students from abroad and guest speakers, visit government offices and foreign embassies, and participate in delegations abroad. Students who participate in the program learn international relations, public speaking, debate, negotiation and conflict resolution, enabling them to both contribute to their own society, and to represent Israel abroad.
This year the Model United Nations program has undertaken to hold bimonthly conferences with other MUN clubs, including schools from Baqa alGharabiya, Tira, Taybe and Modiin, adding an interfaith and intercity component to the program.
Steven Aiello oversees the Model United Nations program, including teaching classes, organizing conferences and guest lectures. He holds a BA in Economics (NYU), an MA in Diplomacy (IDC Herzliya) and is currently an MA student in Islamic Studies at Tel Aviv University."
Photos provided by Steven Aiello