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Model African Union
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Meilen Teklemichael

Meilen Teklemichael

Hometown: Chicago, IL
Majors: Psychology, Political Science, & African Studies

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I heard about this opportunity through the African Studies Department sponsored club known as the Model African Union Club at Penn State. Three representatives including myself attended the Model African Union in Washington D.C.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

Upon arriving to the Model African Union you are split up into several different committees in which you prepared topic based resolutions, proposals for the conference. Once each representative from your committee receives a copy of your resolution all of the delegates search for resolutions with a common purpose in order to consolidate and propose a new resolution to the committee. The consolidation process requires the discussion of your country's current situation and struggles; we also decided the necessary structure that would be used in the consolidated resolution. Once each delegate in your group does this, the groups use the the new structure to draft another resolution to present to the entire committee. In a formal moderated caucus this resolution is proposed, debated, and amended. We then voted to see if the resolution would be passed to the general assembly. If passed, such as mine this year, the same formal moderated caucus procedures ensued.

"It was a great experience representing another country because it opens your mind to new opinions and perspectives."

How did this experience impact you academically?

The formal proceedings at the Model African Union conference were a great experience, teaching me the motions that actual AU and UN delegates perform in real-world situations every day. Proposing and debating the resolutions requires one to think critically and structure speeches in a nature that can be easily understood by everyone in attendance. It is a great experience in order to learn how to formally and appropriately work constructively with others, especially those with opposing views. The process also shows the difficulties in addressing serious issues and pushing different legislation when so many minds have the liberty to vote and express their opinions. It is a great experience representing another country because it opens your mind to new opinions and perspectives. I was able to gain real experience that I had only read about in my studies and improve my presentation skills through the proposal/debate of my resolution.

What are your career goals or plans? How did this experience impact them?

The Model African Union provided me with a unique and once in a lifetime experience. It provided me with great experience of the field I wish to enter within International Politics and Security Studies. Passing legislation and assessing issues through various eyes and opinions is an invaluable skill that will aid me significantly in my career. This conference allowed me to apply what I learned in the classroom and put my mind to work as I proposed new plans and strategies. Such experiences are what I will talk about in future interviews in order to make my candidacy more appealing.

Would you recommend this experience to other liberal arts students?

Yes.

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