The African Studies Program coordinates and hosts the Model African Union program for high school students in our area. The program gives students in grades 9-12 an opportunity to learn about Africa through studying the African Union and assigned topics and countries. The students who assume the roles of delegates for respective assigned countries simulate the proceedings of the African Union in one of the committees with pre-set topics to debate. Students research the background of their country, their country's position on the topics at hand, and prepare notes on possible solutions to the problems faced. Students then convene at Pitt on the day of the conference to debate their assigned topics. Much like the real African Union, the goal is to identify solutions, by negotiation and consensus, on which many countries can agree. Students write and pass a resolution describing the actions that they propose to take collectively in response to the issue. This activity requires countries with very different points of view to discuss their differences and find common ground.
The Model African Union is a great learning tool that equips students with invaluable research and critical thinking skills, negotiation and diplomacy, and helps them develop an international awareness necessary for an increasingly globalized society.