JERUSALEM – Al-Quds University proudly hosted the ﬁrst Palestine International Model United Nations conference (PALiMUN) in cooperation with the Bard College Center for Civic Engage- ment, Wednesday, August 17th through Saturday, August 20th. The student-led conference at- tracted a diverse group of participants from ten countries and twenty-eight universities who dis- cussed global affairs and recent political events in ﬁve simulated United Nations and regional bodies.
Model United Nations is an academic simulation of global government bodies. Students re- search national policies on a variety of issues, and negotiate competing agendas in front of Chairs who guide and evaluate debate.
PALiMUN simulations of global committees provided substantive experiences for students to explore international affairs as individual delegates utilizing UN protocol, debating ideas and ne- gotiating legislation focused on a wide range of topics. In the two simulations of the Arab League the delegates discussed women’s rights and fair elections, and in simulations of the United Nations Security Council, participants respectively discussed bioterrorism and, in a his- torical setting, the situation in Iraq circa 2003. The European Union examined the European ﬁ- nancial and refugee crises.
In his opening address Al-Quds University President Imad Abu Kishk stated that he can think of “no higher purpose than for education to prevent conﬂict and foster cooperation,” emphasizing that “MUN at AQU has been a student led initiative from the start.”
Guests Mahera Jamal of the Palestinian Higher Council of Youth and Sports, and Robert Piper, UN Assistant Secretary General, Development & Humanitarian Coordinator for the Occupied Palestinian Territory also delivered remarks at the opening ceremony.
Assistant Secretary General Robert Piper said that he is honored to be part of the ﬁrst universi- ty-level Palestinian Model United Nations conference, calling it an “historic event”. He further added that Palestine is placed as a top priority on the agenda in the United Nations regularly, and he is hopeful for a future of peacebuilding.
Roughly 115 participants in attendance came with varying levels of experience. A signiﬁcant number of students with no prior experience with Model United Nations engaged in political de- bate and consensus building while following formal procedures. Chair of the United Nations Se- curity Council, Nadine Akel, said that “witnessing the debate that was created by the delegates, who were mostly inexperienced in MUN, showed me the great impact we can have in such a short period of time.” The PALiMUN team, comprised of thirty-three students from several Al- Quds University departments, envisioned and organized the conference, and staffed and chaired the committees.
Many delegates intending to come from Jordan and Gaza were denied permits and thus could not attend.
St. Petersburg State University student Polina Peremitina said of the conference that “It was organized by students, and it was organized well. I can’t imagine how hard it was to do, espe- cially as it was the ﬁrst time ever, so I felt inspired to try it.”
Al-Quds Bard student Mahmoud Adas noted “PALiMUN showed me a new version of the world, a new world of practicing United Nations procedure. Now, I appreciate the role of the UN in helping the world, a world of the unique human opinions and ideas and one's ability to count, to be someone worthwhile who has an important thing to say.”