Model African Union
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Melissa Rae

Melissa Rae

Hometown: State College, PA
Majors: International Politics and African Studies
Minors: French, International Studies, and Global Security

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I heard about this opportunity through the African Studies Department’s 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 all students are split into separate committees. In preparation for the conference, everyone prepared their own resolutions, it was at this time that we dispersed them to our committee. The delegates then read through the various solutions to find a common purpose. We consolidated and proposed a new, overarching resolution to the committee. The consolidation process required each person to express the opinions of their representative countries and articulate the arguments they would have toward the resolution. In a formal moderated caucus this resolution is proposed, debated, and amended. It then passes to “voting” to see if it will be passed to the general assembly. If passed, such as mine was this year, the same formal moderated caucus procedures will ensue.

"It was interesting to watch as so many unique minds debate and express their opinions on such important legislation."

How did this experience impact you academically?

The formal of the Model African Union offered a great experience in learning the real motions that are utilized by AU and UN delegates every day. Proposing and debating the resolutions required each of us to construct speeches that were tailored to a wide audience. This helped teach the model delegates how to work constructively with others, especially others of opposing views. This process also showed the difficulties when addressing such serious issues. It was interesting to watch as so many unique minds debate and express their opinions on such important legislation. Taking on the persona of a foreign delegation allowed me to open my mind and act on the behalf of others. I was able to gain real experiences that I had only read about in my studies. Additionally, I improved 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 that I will cherish as long as I am eligible to participate. It provides great experience into 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. Such experiences are what I will explain to my future employers as a critical aspect of my qualifications.

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