Athens, Ga. – A delegation of seven undergraduate students representing the University of Georgia at the 18th Annual Southeast Model African Union simulation at Clayton State University won the best delegation award recently.
The UGA students represented the African nation of Burkina Faso at the program. As the winning team, they will compete at the National Model African Union held in February at Howard University in Washington, D.C.
The SEMAU simulation is a student-centered undertaking designed to help students gain valuable knowledge of diplomatic codes of behavior as well as enhance their leadership aptitude. The simulation exposes students to a wide array of issues relating to Africa, including political, economic, socio-cultural, security as well as environmental matters. It contributes to students’ understanding of the capabilities and limitations governments in Africa face in dealing with various challenges.
As part of the simulation, students learn how to use and apply parliamentary procedures using Robert’s Rules of Order. Each participant chooses a committee to participate in, researches their selected country, and drafts, discusses and votes on resolutions that address major problems in the selected country and the continent of Africa at large.
The UGA team members, their hometowns and majors, were:
• Tifara Brown, Ocilla, management information systems and international business
• Sainabou Jallow, Sugar Hill, international affairs and economics
• Lisa Traore, Bayreuth, Germany, international affairs and German
• Rita Ebhaleme, Loganville, international affairs
• Tyler Smith, Decatur, journalism
• Ryan Kelley, Conyers, international affairs
• Faisal Gedi, Stone Mountain, computer systems engineering and management information systems
In addition to the best delegation award for the team, four members of the team won individual awards including Kelley, best chair award; Jallow and Brown, outstanding delegate awards; and Traore, honorable mention, for their efforts in their respective committees. Kelley was elected by the faculty members of all the participating institutions to chair the general assembly at the end of the simulation.
“The regional Southeast Model of African Union and the national Model of African Union are two major events that contribute to shaping the outlook of our students as future citizens committed to the political life of their community and beyond,” said Karim Traore, associate professor in the department of comparative literature and one of the team’s faculty advisers. “This year’s group is exceptionally motivated, and I truly feel honored to be associated with our diplomats’ endeavor and achievement.”
The team was prepared for the simulation by faculty advisers Traore and Akinloye Ojo, also an associate professor in the comparative literature department and director of the African Studies Institute. Additional preparation and support was provided by Sylvia Ayieko and Betranna Abrams, graduate assistants in the African Studies Institute. The team received financial support from the Office of the President, the Associate Provost for International Education, the Associate Provost for Institutional Diversity, the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences and the African Studies Institute.
“These annual gatherings allow the participants to get to learn the socio-political realities of specific African nations and regions, and as participants are expected to stay in character,” Traore said. “The students sharpen their political and diplomatic skill by learning to negotiate and compromise on the basis of concrete resolutions that they need to consolidate into fewer ones. Our students get to meet fellow students from other institutions, which can offer the basis of new friendships and networking.”
For more information on Model African Union program, see http://www.modelafricanunion.org.