The Colgate chapter of the Model African Union (MAU) spent the better part of last week in Washington, D.C., participating in MAU’s annual conference, hosted by Howard University. According to the Director of the MAU Program and Professor of Anthropology and Africana & Latin American Studies (ALST) Mary Moran, the MAU is the signature program of ALST.
“The program is of enormous value, and we get fabulous returns on the money ALST invests in it,” Moran said, who has taken students to the conference for six consecutive years.
This is the first year that MAU has been made into a half-semester, credit-bearing course. ALST 290, taught by Moran, has attracted many students, including non- ALST majors and minors. Moran considers her work with students involved in MAU the best teaching she does.
“I’ve always been blessed to have a group of students who really want to do [the program], but now I can demand more of them,” Moran said.
The students spend time in class preparing for the mock trial and discussing various issues taking place in Africa.
“This year’s conference has been the highlight of my experience during my three years in the program,”
senior Brian Gitau said.
He attributes this to the large turnout, which he believes is a result of the creation of the class.
“We are able to prepare more for the conference now and really get recognized for our efforts,” Gitau said.
According to Gitau, this year’s delegation is the largest in Colgate’s history.
Upon arrival, students traveled to their respective country’s embassy to be briefed on the country’s stance on some of the pressing issues they are currently facing.
This year Colgate students represented four delegations from Egypt, Ethiopia, Equatorial Guinea and Angola. Although the Equatorial Guinea and Angola Embassies backed out at the last minute, Colgate students were split up and briefed by the Deputy Chief of Ethiopia and the Egyptian Ambassador.
The faculty members come up with a simulation crisis each year, and it is the executive council’s job to take charge and respond to the crisis. This year the crisis took place in Southern Sudan, an area that has recently voted to secede and become the fifty-fourth member state in the union. In the simulation crisis, fighting had broken out among groups in Southern Sudan, refugees were crossing into neighboring countries, an oil pipeline had blown out and the president had gone missing. The students were then asked to deal with and manage this crisis.
Senior Louis Mensah received the Committee Leadership Award for his work on the executive council steering conversations in a productive and meaningful way.
Gitau also left the conference with an award. He received the Outstanding Chair Award for his work as the Chair of the Peace and Security Committee.
Over 250 students from schools all over the U.S. and even Université Laval from Quebec attended the conference.
Although the course culminates in the MAU conference, many of the students are also part of the African Students Union and the discussions from the course will continue in the African Students Union, according to Gitau.