Yale Model African Union Conference 2022
Ferard and Leney Travel Report – Daniel Tate (2021, MPhil International Relations)
The Yale Model African Union (YMAU) 2022 conference was a truly inspirational event. I departed on Wednesday 11 May and arrived in Kigali, Rwanda that evening. I checked-in at my hotel, Olympic Hotel, at the unreasonable hour of 2am and finally got some sleep, after having worked the entirety of both flights to keep up-to-speed with my coursework. Thursday was spent exploring Kigali, attending seminars virtually, and finishing off work for an outstanding deadline. The conference itself began on Friday 13 May, and took place over three consecutive days, culminating with the closing ceremony in the evening of Sunday 15th May. That same evening, I took a taxi back to the airport for my return flight to London Heathrow. The rushed time I had in Kigali left much to be desired in terms of exploring the city, and indeed more of Rwanda outside Kigali, but considering the incredible opportunity that I managed to fit in between term-time academic deadlines, I am very much satisfied.
The conference itself was formatted similarly to a Model United Nations conference: attendees were allocated as delegates of AU Member States, and tasked with representing their countries in simulations of committees of the AU. I was assigned as the delegate for Botswana, representing in the AU’s Committee on Economic Affairs. We had five committee sessions over the course of the conference, during which we debated the main agenda item for our committee: pan-African unity in the face of China’s Belt-and-Road Initiative. As we reached some level of agreement amongst certain delegations, we began to draft a working paper on the matter, which included myself as a main sponsor. The working paper was ultimately unanimously passed by the committee, and taken to the Committee of Heads of State, where it was passed too, and successfully incorporated into AU policy. In the closing ceremony on the final day, I was awarded the Best Delegate award for my committee, in recognition of my role in bringing countries together to sponsor and sign onto the only resolution that passed from our committee.
Other than the committee sessions, the conference also included workshops on topics such as globalisation and sustainable development, a speaker series on African prospects for development, a career fair, and plenty of networking with delegates from all around Africa (and a cohort from the US).
On the whole, I can say without a doubt that the YMAU 2022 conference was nothing short of extraordinary. I was blown away by the calibre of individuals at the conference, and by the passion they shared for engendering change for the better in our world. My sincere thanks must go to the Trustees of the Ferard and Leney Travel Funds for making this trip possible for me – I am left feeling inspired to pursue my passions for change in South Africa, my home country, Africa, my home continent, and indeed the world at large.
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Published: 7 July 2022