This recap has been provided by Sarah Montell, Director of Outreach and Coordinator for the Third Annual Ohio High School Model African Union Conference.
The Ohio High School Model African Union Conference (OHSMAU) saw its third yearcome to fruition November 9 with students from all over the state coming together to learn about different issues facing the continent of Africa after studying for weeks in and out of the classroom in preparation. OHSMAU is staffed by the Ohio State University Collegiate Council on World Affairs each year with Columbus North International School, along with The Ohio State University Center for African Studies. The event has continued to grow and offer quality content to its attendees, this year with more than 70 students in attendance from 9 different high schools, making it the largest Model African Union conference in Ohio.
Throughout the conference, students grappled with water security issues throughout all regions of Africa, including the prevention of water borne illnesses, international water law, agricultural development, and water in conflict and disaster zones. Delegates then addressed a crisis involving the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam on the Blue Nile River, engaging in substantive debate on trans-boundary water management and cooperation among sovereign states, as well as the role of water in maintaining peace and political stability. Ultimately, four comprehensive working papers were passed, addressing both the crisis and the overall threat of water scarcity facing the continent.
The Ohio High School Model African Union conference and partnership with Columbus North International School is CCWA’s keynote outreach event. Engaging four different high schools within the Columbus City School District, the event aims to encourage research and analytic debate on global issues for students with little to no Model UN experience. As Columbus has an increasingly large African refugee community, the conference served not only as an exposure to debate but also as a means of cultivating global awareness for relevant international issues of personal importance. Many of these students lack a high school curriculum that emphasizes analytical thinking, debate, and thinking in a global context, and this conference was an opportunity to exercise and develop these skills.