Delivering American University's news and views since 1925. | Wednesday, December 19, 2018

AU hosts first ever Model G20 Summit

The SIS event is the first of its kind at a US university

AU hosts first ever Model G20 Summit

The student leadership team and German Embassy officials. Students met with some of the foreign service officers to discuss Germany's agenda and priorities for the G20 Leaders Summit in 2017. 

The School of International Service will host the first Model G20 Summit to take place at any U.S. university on March 25. The all-day event will provide a platform for students to learn more about international economic affairs.

Since 2008, the G20 Summit has been an annual conference for the heads of state of the top 20 leading and emerging economies and the heads of major international organizations to address the most challenging issues of the global economy. The event at SIS will be modeled after this conference.

One hundred undergraduate and graduate students from AU, Georgetown, George Washington, George Mason, Bayer and Montgomery College will attend to develop their skills in public speaking, argumentation and multilateral negotiations.

“Simulating the G20 provides for a fantastic experiential learning opportunity,” Model G20 Executive Director Cecilia Nahón said. “The G20 is such a unique forum and the students don’t know much about it, but it’s a significantly influential forum.”

The scheduled events will begin in the morning with a Model G20 Symposium in which experts and high-level officials from the German Embassy will explain what the G20 is, the challenges it faces and share some behind-the-scenes insights about it, Nahón, said. Following the symposium are four guest speakers and the simulation of the summit.

According to Nahón, the simulation is separated into three working sessions. The first is the Sherpa Track in which students are responsible for coordinating a country’s position for the G20 and negotiating subjects like climate change and development issues.

The second session is the Finance Track where students will discuss challenges of the global economy such as trade and investment.

The third session is the Leader’s Session, in which all the students will regroup to adopt the Model G20 communicate, or final message of their common views on how to promote the global economy.

“We hope to have fun and learn and discover new things about international affairs,” Nahón said. “We also hope to provide a platform for students to learn about international economic affairs, about the challenges of international corporations, and how demanding it is sometimes to reach agreements.”

Nahón set up the event with the support of SIS Dean James Goldgeier as well as the help of AU professors and students. She teamed up with professors David Mislan and Andrew Spath that had experience in Model U.N. as well as undergraduate and graduate students in Model UN to try to combine the G20 with elements of Model U.N.

Her work as the Sherpa for Argentina in the real G20 Summit, where she was responsible for negotiations on topics like climate change and coordinated with the finance minister and finance officials, helped her with SIS’s new initiative.

“We tried to combine my experience coming from the real G20 with their experience from the Model U.N. to develop an interesting and unique program that could be a learning and growing opportunity for students.”

Nuha Hamid, one of the event’s undergraduate student coordinators, compared her G20 experience to her Model U.N. experience in high school, when she served as the Secretary General of the American University Model United Nations Conference hosted by the American University International Relations Society.

As an undergrad coordinator, she had the chance to meet some of the foreign service officers from the financial department of the German Embassy and discuss Germany’s agenda for the G20 Summit taking place in Hamburg this July.

“While there are differences in the simulation structure between Model G20 and Model U.N., I've been able to directly transfer my conference organizing experience from Model U.N. to Model G20,” Hamid said. “I've really enjoyed working with the other student coordinators, most of whom are also active members of AMIRS and the Model U.N. team.”

A three-day extended simulation of the G20 Summit is set to take place in October 2017. Nahón said that this simulation will be a more complete version of the first.

“This is a novelty program that SIS is putting together and we hope that we will continue its growth,” Nahón said.

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