California State University, Northridge’s Model African Union (MAU) team received four big awards this spring at the annual Model African Union conference, held at Howard University in Washington, D.C.
CSUN — which won the fourth-most awards of the 42 schools competing — won the Committee Leadership Award for the Committee on Democracy, Governance and Human Rights; the Outstanding Delegation Award for the Committee on Democracy, Governance and Human Rights; the Outstanding Delegation Award for the Technical Committee on Economic Matters and the Outstanding Committee Leadership Award for the Executive Council.
“The current and future world will face issues that cannot be settled by simply bombing our way out — diplomatic engagement, mediation and talking things out will be the order of the day , and the Model African Union Council activity offers students an excellent, high-level training and preparation for such decision-making,” said faculty adviser David Horne, a professor in the Department of Africana Studies. “CSUN students have taken to this opportunity like a fish to water and will continue to win awards and distinctions in the intercollegiate competition.”
CSUN’s MAU team, which is sponsored by the Department of Africana Studies and consists of seven Matador student delegates and Horne, has had great success together in the past — at the 2015 conference, the team took home five awards.
“Not only is CSUN the only West Coast school that has a Model African Union team, but we also have a legacy to uphold,” said CSUN MAU President Kalkidan Temesgen. “We’ve won national awards year after year, and it’s important that we keep representing ourselves and the school. Our team loves the continent of Africa, and we’ve taken it upon ourselves to advocate for them in the best way we know how.”
The MAU provides students training in leadership, diplomacy, debate and negotiation, Horne said. The conference also gives students a unique opportunity to study the role, structure and activities of the African Union, as well as the economic, social and political-security issues facing African countries.
All 42 participating schools were designated an African country — CSUN was given the Republic of Mali — to represent during the three-day February conference. Teams were asked to research their designated countries and prepare to compete and engage in diplomacy, debate and negotiation of resolutions regarding African problems.
“For months, we practiced and studied [the Republic of Mali’s] political and social stance in order to give the best representation possible,” Temesgen said. “The organizers of the conference chose the country for us — we like it this way because it gave us more of a challenge.”
Delegates of CSUN’s Model African Union team include: James Herron, Melissa Elswick, Kalkidan Temesgen, Glenna Dixon, Malcolm McIntosh, Crystal Hatcher, Ameer Wafer and faculty advisor David L. Horne.