The Canadian University Dubai recently hosted their second annual regional model congress in partnership with Harvard Model Congress Middle East. Over 200 high school students from 10 different countries took part in the 3-day conference to discuss and debate important global issues. 

Regional Model Congress

The students represented various roles during the congress such as members of the US House of Representatives, US Senators and UN delegates. They were split into committees to negotiate and develop policy solutions around topics like artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, sustainable food systems, global energy and international migration. The high school pupils worked together with Harvard University students to have thoughtful discussions and come to agreements on resolutions. 

Some of the resolutions that were passed included regulating the agriculture industry, protecting data privacy, providing peaceful humanitarian aid and prioritizing gender equality in education. Two schools were awarded for their performance at the event. Speak Fluent won best small delegation while Yongsan International School was given best large delegation. 

Heather Park, a director of programs at Harvard and student, spoke about the goals of hosting this type of conference. She said they aim to teach and inspire future leaders in a safe environment. All the participants gained more confidence by the end of the event and developed a better understanding of complex worldwide issues. Park hopes this experience will encourage the students to continue being global thinkers and public speakers as they grow older.

There were also opportunities for students to compete in a delegate speech competition. Mahra Mohammed AlShamsi from Ras Al Khaimah American Academy won for her speech about how attending last year’s model congress personally impacted her. She explained that before the event, her self-esteem was low due to the isolation of the pandemic and changing schools. However, being part of the conference significantly improved her confidence and led her to explore new opportunities. 

This marked the 11th session of the Harvard Model Congress Middle East, which began in 2012. It provides a forum for young people to engage in meaningful discussion, learn from university students and interact professionally on social issues. Over the years, it has become one of the top international relations simulations for high school students in the Middle East region. Participating helps students develop skills like leadership, public speaking, understanding governmental bodies and negotiating with different perspectives. 

Meredith Zielonka, the president of Harvard Model Congress Middle East 2024, expressed gratitude towards Canadian University Dubai for hosting hundreds of students from the area. Dr. Ghada Abaido, who oversaw the event on behalf of CUD’s communication department, said they are pleased to partner with Harvard again this year. She believes it aligns with their mission of promoting youth leadership through hands-on learning experiences. Since delegates came from various GCC countries and places like South Korea, students also got exposed to Dubai’s education and culture.

In summary, the 3-day regional model congress at Canadian University Dubai gathered over 200 high school pupils from across the world to engage in thoughtful policymaking around complex global issues. Through simulations of governmental processes, it helped strengthen participants’ 21st century skills like public speaking, critical thinking and collaboration. The event continues to be a premier opportunity for the next generation of leaders in the Middle East to develop and discuss solutions on an international platform.