Model Arab League eyes reform, press freedoms

Sunday, November 21st, 2010

The 21st Cairo International Model Arab League (CIMAL) conference kicked off with a determined spirit to emphasize the need for socio-political reform, freedom of the press and maximum utilization of youth potential in the region.

Noha Mahmoud, the CIMAL graduate advisor, gave an opening speech explaining the year’s slogan - “Their Thrones, Our Nation” - and linked most of the Arab World problems to shortcomings in leadership.

“Our model this year included some absent principles in our society, we are trying to liberate our nation from restrictions by simulating an Arab league that is destined for reform,” Mahmoud said at Bassily Hall November 9.

On the other hand, Faisal Kattan, the secretary general of CIMAL’10 said that there has been a noticeable improvement in political and economic fields, as well as civic engagement since 1945.

“Our motto might sound harsh towards the Arab leaders but actually it’s targeting the Arab youth, the only remaining variable,” said Kattan.

Keynote speaker Hani Al Molqi, the Jordanian ambassador to Egypt and his country’s permanent representative at the Arab League, addressed the Arab-Israeli conflict and the understanding of the discipline of political science.

The ambassador also stated that the science of politics is about impressions not facts.

“My engineering background could be the reason behind what I’ll say today,” he said, “political science is an art, not a science.”

Marc Mourad, the organizing committee head, said that CIMAL 2010 reveals the success of the model as a political institution and the failure of the real political institution as a model.

“Love, faith and working for one common goal, freedom of expression, team work and respect for the law have all been the model’s principles for destroying bureaucratic barriers,” said Mourad in his speech.

CIMAL takes place every fall and is currently the largest student-run conference at AUC. It was held for the first time in 1990, during the period leading up to the Gulf war.

The program aims to familiarize students with the activities of the League of Arab States and help them develop an understanding of the regional and international factors that affect the determination of Arab foreign policy. Organizers say that CIMAL is a valuable venue for intercultural exchange, negotiations, awareness and decision-making among youth interested in Arab affairs.

CIMAL is not only a simulation of the Arab League, but also a vision of how youth want the Arab League to be. It has been held for 20 successive years and has grown to be the largest and most distinguished simulations of the Arab League worldwide.

“People involved this year are gifted, exceptional and over-committed, they wanted to start things properly and they got to understand the dynamics of the Arab league,” said Kattan.