The Gateway of Change for a Better Tomorrow
On Saturday October 15, LAU hosted the annual inauguration ceremony for the 12th Global Classroom Lebanese American University Model United Nations (GC LAU MUN) and the 6th Lebanese American University Model Arab League (LAU MAL) in its Beirut campus.
With today’s current crises not only in Lebanon but all over the neighboring regions and with the growing unrest of our nation’s future, it is essential to highlight the crucial role that our youth must embody to help spark hope for a better tomorrow. The programs of GC LAU MUN and LAU MAL have empowered and continue to install diplomacy, peace building, and leadership skills among thousands of students from both high schools and middle schools all over Lebanon.
The 12th GC LAU MUN Secretary General Wadih Khnaizer along with the 6th LAU MAL Secretary Genral Youssef Taher hosted the inauguration ceremony, held in Irwin Hall. They opened their welcome speech with their gratitude towards the program and especially to LAU’s President Dr. Joseph Jabra, the esteemed attendees, and the school advisors and students. Among the VIPs and honorary guests were Her Excellency Mrs. Bahia Hariri, Dr. Elise Salem, AVP Elie Samia, Mrs. Olga Kavran, government officials, the representatives and Ambassadors of the Embassies of Tunisia, China, Indonesia, Egypt, France, Paraguay, United Arab Emirates, along with the Consuls of Mauritius and Latvia.
The screening of the official inauguration video featured a captivatingly creative and visually friendly guide for all the Secretariat members of this years LAU MUN and MAL secretariat.
Dr. Joseph Jabbra, President of the Lebanese American University referred to the inauguration video as the symbolic “hope that springs alive through young men and women.” He mentioned former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and Canadian politician and philosopher Michael Ingnatieff as higher examples who strongly encouraged the youth to dream the impossible dream, correct the wrongs of humanity, and to work as hard as possible to make the world a better place for us and many generations to come. Restating their crucial exemplary stances in involving the youth, Dr. Jabra argues, “cutting off young men and women would be cutting off the lifeline that would lead to better society and a better world.” He then discussed the importance of providing the opportunity of education among all and how fitting this aspiration is for the program. He also stressed LAU’s stand in rejecting violence, discrimination and war whilst promoting justice, tolerance and peace. Lastly, Dr. Jabbra urged not only the youth, but everyone, on recognizing their greater unified role in making the world a better place. The audience was highly inspired and applauded him enthusiastically.
MAL SG Youssef Taher then presented Her Excellency Bahia Hariri, President of HFSHD and LAU’s partner in MAL. He commended her humanitarian efforts not only in Lebanon but also all over the Arab region. She started off by stating the value of having a dream, for without that it, there would be no ultimate hope or happiness. She thanked Dr. Jabra along with the LAU team for their initiatives in building MUN and MAL. She recognizes the importance of these two programs as they “aid the Lebanese students on a deeper understanding of the importance of a healthy global community.” As president of The Hariri Foundation for Sustainable Human Development, Ms. Hariri expressed how she “cherishes their partnership with LAU as they excel in these outstanding programs whilst maintaining the values of peace and justice in Arab societies and especially our dear nation, Lebanon.”
GC LAU MUN SG Wadih Khnaizer later introduced keynote speaker and Head of Outreach and Legacy at the Special Tribunal for Lebanon Ms. Olga Kavran praising her assistance and involvement in both MUN and MAL. She asserted mainstream media has framed the Arab region as being in its worst condition yet, even though she argued it is to some degree true; however, the world outside these current warzones are indeed a much better place than before. Over the course of the past decades, the global average life expectancy rate has grown, the global illiteracy has dropped, extreme world poverty has been cut in half, more women’s rights have been established, and the birth of a system for internal tribunal justice aided in founding courts and tribunes for a dozen countries, notably the Special Tribunal for Lebanon. She stressed the value of justice among societies on both national and international levels. Aware that current justice system “is far from perfect,” she referred to history to prove progress and change are possible. She called for participants in both MUN and MAL to be optimistic enough to believe in a brighter future – future of change. This change requires the fusion of breaking barriers, standing up for adversaries, understanding the values of tolerance and acceptance, as well as great perseverance and responsibility.
Prof. Elie Samia, the program director and the assistant vice president for the Outreach and Civic engagement unit that organizes Model UN, Model Arab League, and Model European Union then took the stage for his awaited captivating speech. He described how the GC LAU MUN and MAL formulated an evidently booming and distinct culture that honors LAU social statement in terms of academic excellence, student centeredness, formation of leaders and civic engagement. He went on to acknowledge the epitome of professional and academic integrity of both Secretary Generals for MUN and MAL, Wadih Khnaizer and Youssef Taher. A passionate and supportive round of applause was reciprocated back. Samia continued as he pointed out the diversity of departments that participate in the program as leaders of tomorrow are not limited to only social sciences, but the figures rather show that students from every major are key pillars of the program. He states this year’s striking record of school participants – 194! And after showing deep appreciation for the School Relations team’s effort, Prof. Samia called on stage Under Secretary general for School Relations Fouad Kadi for his hard work and endeavors for the program. Lastly, he expressed his pride in LAU’s success while participating in the Global Classroom International Middle and High School Conferences and shared the expectancy of a full house in both of this year’s conferences in the UN headquarters in New York.
Afterwards, Dr. Elise Salem, Vice President for Student Development and Enrollment Management, welcomed to the stage the LAU MUN and LAU MAL Senior Secretariat Board (SSB). Following that, both Secretary Generals called their team members of over 400 students onto stage to pledge for the traditional Secretariat Oath. A group photo was then taken of whole program’s teams’ members to wrap up the inauguration ceremony.
Both Secretary Generals later held a Question/Answer session for school advisors in order to ensure that all procedures are made clear and that there are no questions left unanswered. It included presentations about tips and tasks to excel in both programs.
After laying the foundations of this year’s GC LAU MUN and LAU MAL programs, we are optimistic that our participants, our youth, will soar on the grounds of hope invested in them and excel for the ultimate betterment of their societies.