From February 22nd to 26th, seven Telfer School of Management students took on the challenge of representing the University of Ottawa at the 2017 National Model African Union Conference at Howard University in Washington, DC.

The 2017 National Model African Union Conference involved Canadian, American and Korean Universities representing various African nations. The conference provided participants with the chance to learn about roles, structures and activities of the African Union including economic, social, security and political issues facing African countries. The negotiation simulation is completed in accordance with real-time information provided by African Union Diplomats at the embass of the respective countries.

The University of Ottawa represented the Kingdom of Swaziland, a small African nation bordered by Mozambique and South Africa. As diplomats of Swaziland, the students had to have a very thorough understanding of the country by studying a variety of current conflicts affecting Swaziland.

The six committees were represented by the students below, and each student was responsible for negotiating resolutions on behalf of Swaziland:

  • Executive Council: Gaëlle Faye
  • Committee on Peace & Security: Audrey Marie Traoré
  • Committee on Economic Matters: Marilyne Vidjanagni and Rainatou Ouedraogo
  • Committee on Democracy, Human Rights & Governance: Alexandrine Silga
  • Committee on Social Matters: Marie-Emmanuelle Kouadio
  • Committee on Pan-Africanism & Continental Unity: Mame Marième Diop & Ashley Sidibé

The simulation gave students an opportunity to practice skills that will be greatly beneficial in their careers going forward. In addition to the simulation, there were many networking opportunities with African Diplomats.

After months of preparation and fundraising events to finance the conference’s expenses, two Telfer students went the extra mile and brought home two Outstanding Performance Awards: Gaëlle Faye and Marie-Emmanuelle Kouadio.

“The delegation would like to thank everyone who supported and believed in us from the beginning,” says Gaëlle Faye on behalf of the delegation. “We are all proud to have represented our University as well as the colours of Swaziland. As international students, we have been waiting to take part in an activity that allows us to learn and contribute to our African communities. Through this program, our goal was to demonstrate how students can leverage various Telfer resources in coordination with cultural insight to better connect students to what matters. We were the first to participate in this simulation and we hope that this won’t be the last time.”

In preparation for the 2018 National Model African Union, any students interested in participating or learning more about this amazing opportunity are invited to contact this year's delegation. 

Written by the 2017 National Model African Union delegation