Addressing students as “potential future colleagues," Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry spoke at The American University in Cairo (AUC) to the longstanding relationship between the AUC’s Cairo International Model United Nations (CIMUN), the University and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs at yesterday’s opening ceremony of the 29th CIMUN conference.“Many former MUN delegates have joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs,” said Shoukry. “They remain closely involved until now in multilateral relations, serving Egypt and furthering global peace. Many are giving back to AUC as professors of practice. I see this partnership growing as attention to this event grows. The experience that you will acquire in the next few days as MUN delegates is the first step towards an in-depth awareness of international diplomacy. I trust you will build on it wisely in preparing yourselves for the future as potential colleagues in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.”
Shoukry focused on the importance of the multilateral agenda in international relations. “We find that the current multilateral structures do not give the adequate space for the Global South to participate meaningfully,” he stated. “Egypt believes that a meaningful participation of developing countries is the only guarantee for a multilateral system that…contributes to international peace and security.”
“We believe,” continued Shoukry, “that we can only achieve these ambitious goals of reform of the multilateral agenda through the mobilization of all our precious human resources, youth being primarily among them, in an effort to contribute fully to the emerging multi-stakeholder diplomacy. There could not be a better partner in this endeavor than a group like this audience with energetic youth that are well-versed in international relations and multilateral institutions.”
Specifically, he highlighted multilateralism as a key strategy for fighting terrorism, resolving conflict, supporting sustainable development and maintaining a comprehensive definition of human rights.
Welcoming delegates to the conference, President Francis J. Ricciardone addressed the impressive contributions and history of CIMUN, as well as all student clubs at AUC. “This is something that is special about AUC, he said. “We love extracurricular activities here. We have serious academics and course work, but where our students really have a chance to show leadership and initiative is in student clubs like CIMUN.”
Reflecting on the longstanding strength of CIMUN, Walid Kazziha, political science professor and CIMUN faculty adviser, added that “our students are achieving marvelous work. CIMUN has lasted 29 years because they have developed a system that sustains itself.”
Nour Shafik, CIMUN graduate adviser, and Omar Zaky, CIMUN secretary-general, added a student perspective to the night’s remarks. Dedicating her speech to the late Nadia Younes, who served the United Nations for 30 years, Shafik focused on the importance of developing women leaders in Egypt, something which CIMUN has been doing throughout its 29-year history. “It is our duty as a community to allow all women a chance to become the voices of change in this world,” she said.
Zaky highlighted the unique way that CIMUN gives young Egyptian teenagers a voice. Reflecting on his own experience, he said, “CIMUN gave me a voice and taught me that I have an obligation to spread awareness on key issues.”