A Glimpse of Hope
LAU is Leading by Example and Diplomatic Finesse
Saturday November 7, 2015 was the day the 11th Global Classroom Lebanese American University Model United Nation (GC LAU MUN) and 5th Lebanese American University Model Arab League (LAU MAL) programs were initiated during a first ever merged inauguration ceremony.
With an indisputable public concern whether or not our country will ever bounce back to an upright state, the way out of this persistent stagnation is today’s youth. The keynote speakers of the ceremony remarkably emphasized the importance of the contribution of today’s generation to revive our society. More than ever, our country is in need of today’s youth to lead and to embody peaceful, innovative, and influential steps to resonate and to reach for a positive change.
The inauguration ceremony, held in the Irwin Auditorium at LAU Beirut was launched by the 11th GC LAU MUN Secretary General Alexander El-Khawaja and the 5th LAU MAL Secretary General Rahma Al Dalbani. With their warm welcoming speech, El Khawaja and Al Dalbani thanked LAU’s President Dr. Joseph Jabbra, Mr. Antoine Frem, Her Excellency Mrs. Bahia Hariri, Her Excellency Ms. Sigrid Kaag, Dr. Elise Salem, AVP Elie Samia, and the representatives of the Embassies, the VIPs, the school advisors and students.
The first ever merged Inauguration Ceremony Video was inspirational as it magnified the depth, magnitude and scope of this year’s LAU MUN and LAU MAL programs.
Dr. Joseph Jabbra, President of the Lebanese American University urged the upcoming generation to take a stand. “We need to change society for the better, to make it bounce back,” he said. “It is time to do it, and with you- we will!” This resulted in a passionate applause from the audience. Her Excellency Mrs. Bahia Hariri gave a historic overview of the emergence of the Arab League and the Lebanese wars. She went on asserting the need to build a society of peace and justice, and then she extended her pride in the Model UN and Model Arab League student leaders who have achieved high and commendable results, “Looking at you gives me hope that this long gloomy night will end no matter what the obstacles may be.” She wrapped up by saying, “You are a proof of distinction”. Mr. Antoine Frem who is the Vice Chairman of INDEVCO Group, and the Chairman of Interstate Resources Inc. contended that it is essential to spread the UN doctrine and these esteemed LAU programs do that. Mr. Frem went on assuring that “Giving back to society is not charity or altruism; it is our duty.” Frem expressed how privileged he feels to be addressing such a unique audience and claimed, “Youth knows; empowered youth can!” Her Excellency Ms. Sigrid Kaag, the Under Secretary General- UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon left a huge impact on the audience as they were encouraged to stand up in a peaceful and constructive way and to make themselves count. Ms. Kaag loves Lebanon and is upset about the current turmoil; however, she accentuated the fact that the youth can and will make a difference. Ms. Kaag emphasized that “This is the moment to seize opportunities not despair, and you need to be the voice of Lebanon and the region because we need you badly.”
Prof. Elie Samia, the program director and the assistant vice president for the Outreach and Civic Engagement Unit which organizes the Model UN and Model Arab League program, charismatically stole the attention of the audience with his passionate and concrete speech. He described participants in MUN and MAL as “propagators of hope and beacons of transformation.” Samia then elaborated on the trust of UNA-USA in LAU as it handed it the two largest Model UN Conferences held in New York. LAU has a 100% win record in international conferences, recalling that “out of the 64 participants in the GCI MUN over the past 10 years, 64 participants have won; we are extremely proud of you!” Samia stated that none of this would have been possible without the schools’ trust and wide participation which he portrayed to the audience through visual aid and figures.
The inauguration was a festive celebration. Samia called for a brief yet honoring celebration of the 10 GCI MUN winners; five of which were present and were called up on stage to receive their certificates, awards and gavels. Another commemorative instant was introduced. Nour Kawkabani, one of the participants of the ‘10th MUN’s Got Talent’ was caleld onto the stage. She was recognized for the portrait of President Jabbra which she presented to him. Nour drew live on stage in under 2 minutes the portrait last year during the Talent show.
Dr. Elise Salem, Vice president for Student Development and Enrollment Management, who incessantly supported students by catering for their needs and concerns, was asked to come up to the stage to honor and display this year’s Senior Secretariat Board (SSB) members. Her notable enthusiasm and lively spirit reached each and everyone’s heart. “They are the heart of the programs, they are the future, and they are the hope, so here they are,” is what she said before she named the SSB members who took the stage in a remarkably organized manner. Following that, both Secretary Generals called up their team members onto the stage for the conventional Secretariat Oath in which members pledged to “commit to building bridges of communication, empathy, and respect and to protect the dignity of each and every person.” A group photo was taken of the entire program’s team members after that to wrap up this first part of the inauguration ceremony.
Thereafter, a Question/Answer session was held for school advisers in order to ensure that all procedures are made clear and that there is no questions left unanswered. The GC LAU MUN Mobile application – as well as the social media platforms which promote the programs’ events – were introduced. This session was hosted by every team, which sequentially had short presentations about tips and tasks to excel in both programs.
The Inauguration Ceremony highlighted the erudite and humanitarian drives of the speakers who in turn inspired the public to make a difference. Throughout 11 years of MUN and 5 years of MAL, LAU student leaders continued to inspire generations of high school and middle school students from all over Lebanon.
Mahatma Ghandi says, “Be the change you wish to see in the world”; it is inevitably time to take a stand and make a change – a change that will remove us from this vicious stagnation. Who are we if we cannot reform society? Who are we if we cannot imagine a better world? We are the world we live in, so let’s make it one worth the life!