AUA Students Gain Firsthand Experience in Diplomacy and Debate at Model European Union
YEREVAN – On May 16, 2013, first and second year students from the American University of Armenia (AUA)’s Political Science and International Affairs (PSIA) program participated in an on-campus Model European Union. Jean Monnet Chair of European Studies and Assistant Professor in AUA’s PSIA department Dr. Syuzanna Vasilyan organized the event as an opportunity for students to develop skills in diplomacy and political debate.
Participants, who had already closely examined the EU’s enlargement policy during their studies, also took part in a Model European Union training session prior to the event, with Policy Officer on European Integration from the European NGO, Association des Etats Généraux des Etudiants de l’Europe (AEGEE) European Students Forum Mr. Armenak Minasyants invited as a guest speaker.
Students, representing heads of state or government in EU member-states and institutions, participated in an in-depth discussion about Turkey’s potential accession to the European Union. Dr. Vasilyan explains, “this is a debated issue across Europe and entails political repercussions for Armenia. Therefore, it is vital that our students gain policy-relevant knowledge and hands-on experience.”
Participants then took part in a formal debate whereby items were raised for clarification, questions were posed challenging the positions of specific member-states, institutions were called upon to assume a more active role, and, most importantly, Turkey was requested to elaborate on several problems and reforms it has undertaken or will undertake in order to comply with the EU’s demands.
Dr. Vasilyan continues, “as an innovative learning exercise, organizing the Model EU at AUA pursued a two-fold objective: to help our students learn how the EU works in practice, and to supply them with crucial skills of diplomatic stature and argumentation, which will be valuable in their future careers both in national and international settings.”
Founded in 1991, the American University of Armenia (AUA) is a private, independent university located in Yerevan, Armenia and affiliated with the University of California. AUA provides a global education in Armenia and the region, offering high-quality, graduate and undergraduate studies, encouraging civic engagement, and promoting public service and democratic values.
PSIA students participating in the Model European Union
Dr. Syuzanna Vasilyan providing guidelines prior to the Model European Union
PSIA students discuss issues before the Model EU simulation
Mr. Armenak Minasyants offering tips to the students, Dr. Syuzanna Vasilyan moderating, and PSIA first year student Manuk Avedikyan acting as President of the European Council