A delegation of seven students and scholars representing the University of Georgia at the 24th Annual Southeast Model African Union (SEMAU) simulation in Georgia College and State University, Milledgeville, Nov. 3 – 6, 2021 won the “Most Outstanding Delegation Award.”
The SEMAU simulation is a student-centered undertaking designed to assist students in gaining valuable knowledge of diplomatic codes of behavior as well as enhancing their leadership aptitude.
"Students benefit immensely, learning how to use and apply parliamentary procedures using Robert’s Rules of Order," said Akinloye Ojo, associate professor of comparative literature and director of the African Studies Institute. Each participant chooses a committee to participate in, research their selected country, draft, discuss, and vote on resolutions that address major problems in the selected country in particular, and the continent of Africa at large.
"The simulation also exposes students to a wide array of issues relating to Africa, including political, economic, socio-cultural, security as well as environmental matters. The experiential learning contributes to students’ understanding of the capabilities and limitations governments in Africa face in dealing with the aforementioned challenges," he said. "The conference also provides students an opportunity to meet and make new friends, and share their college experiences."
The theme for this year’s conference was Agenda 2063: The Africa We Want.
The SEMAU Most Outstanding Delegation Award, presented to the best-performing delegation at the simulation, is based on the high number of outstanding leadership-in-committee awards received by individual members of each delegation. All the awards presented at the simulation are voted upon by the student delegates at the conference.
The UGA team featured seven representatives including Manny Charles, International Business, Johns Creek, GA, (Peace and Security Committee); Zoe Michelle Clark, Political Science, Stockbridge, GA, (Committee on Democracy, Governance, and Human Rights); Quinn Phillips, History, Athens, GA, (Technical Committee on Pan-Africanism and Continental Unity); Elizabeth Mutunga, TESOL, Nairobi, Kenya (Technical Committee on Economic Matters); Bukunmi Ogunsola, Language and Literacy Education, Ibadan, Nigeria (Technical Committee on Social Matters); Olumide Ajayi, Language and Literacy Education, Lagos, Nigeria (Technical Committee on Peace and Security), and Damilola Adebonojo, African Studies, Epe, Lagos, Nigeria (Technical Committee on Social Matters).
In total, five members of the UGA team won individual leadership-in-committee awards for their outstanding performances in the different committees in the educational model: Charles, winning the Outstanding Delegate Award in the Executive Council; Clark, winning the Outstanding Delegate Award in the Democracy, Governance and Human Rights Committee; Quinn, winning the Outstanding Delegate Award in the Pan Africanism and Continental Unity Committee; Mutunga, winning the Outstanding Delegate award in the Economic Matters Committee; and Adebonojo, winning the Honorable Mention Leadership-in-Committee Award in the Social Matters Committee. The faculty advisors for the UGA team were Ojo and Karim Traore, emeritus professor of Comparative Literature and African Studies.
The team received financial support from the African Studies Institute and Franklin College of Arts and Sciences. The UGA winning team and other members of the UGA Model Africa Union club continue to prepare to represent UGA and the nation of Burkina Faso in the International Model African Union Conference in February 2022 at Howard University in Washington, D.C.