Model EU Offers Skills in Diplomacy and Political Debate to PSIA Students
YEREVAN, Armenia – On May 8, 2014, first-year students of the American University of Armenia (AUA)’s Political Science and International Affairs (PSIA) program participated in an on-campus Model European Union (European Council). The event was organized by Dr. Syuzanna Vasilyan, Jean Monnet Chair of European Studies and assistant professor in AUA’s PSIA program, within the framework of the “European Union and the World” course, for students to acquire skills in diplomacy and political debate.
Within the framework of the course, students gained knowledge about the EU’s history, institutions, policies, and global role (relations with different regional blocs around the world, including its political neighborhood through the European Neighborhood Policy, as well as the specific initiatives such as the Union for the Mediterranean for the southern partners and the Eastern Partnership for the eastern ones).
During the Model European Union, AUA students, representing heads of state or government, presented their visions on the “Prospects of the Eastern Partnership.” Prior to the event, students had participated in a training session delivered by Mr. Armenak Minasyants, Policy Officer on European Integration at the Association des Etats Généraux des Etudiants de l’Europe (AEGEE) European Students Forum.
Dr. Vasilyan explained, “Given the latest political developments before (Armenia’s choice not to pre-sign the Association Agreement/Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement) and after (instability in Ukraine) the Vilnius 2013 summit of the Eastern Partnership, the substance and form of the initiative have been questioned. Combined with little public awareness regarding the Union, in general, its policy in these countries, specifically, this was an essential exercise for students to delve into the positions of EU member-states and institutions and understand the variation of interests and concerns in the stances of the EU actors, the ramifications for EU-Russia relations, and the growing divergence among the countries in the Union’s eastern neighborhood. Such an experience will be of lifetime value for the students.”
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.
Dr. Vasilyan chairing the meeting while acting as President of the European Council.
Students acquire skills in diplomacy and political debate in an on-campus Model European Union.
Participants were first-year students in AUA’s Political Science and International Affairs program.
Students represented heads of state or government during the event.
Dr. Vasilyan says, “Such an experience will be of lifetime value for the students.”