Last Saturday, the first official Mock Arab League conference in IE was hosted by a partnership between the MENA Club and the Debate Club. The conference was officially classified as a MINIMUN, one of many hosted by the Debate Club across these last years, and followed almost the same structure; this specific conference, however, was expanded upon. Unlike any other MINIMUN hosted by the Debate Club, this event had a closing and opening ceremony, as well as having three different committees in which delegates debated different topics, the most ever in any MINIMUN organised in IE. Aside from participating in this event, I interviewed the presidents of both clubs to further understand the inner workings of this conference and the organisational process, as well as the merge between these clubs.
The MENA Club
Laith Abu Rub, the Palestinian 2nd year BBA BIR student is the founder and current president of the MENA club at IE. Laith created this club “to provide a platform for Arab Students to connect, learn and help one another”, he also adds that its purpose is to “celebrate Arab culture and traditions with the entirety of the IE Community”. In order to further expand the club’s platform and purpose, the MENA club took the initiative to plan this Mock Arab League debate so that the IE community could learn more and engage in debate regarding this special region. After several talks with intermediaries and meetings with the Debate Club and with its help, Laith was capable of putting this event together.
“The wealth of knowledge and expertise they hold is unmatched, and they are beyond generous in sharing these expertise with us and helping us grow. We are very thankful to be working with such a club.”
– Laith Abu Rub, Founder and President of the MENA Club
Laith describes the process of working with the Debate Club as “a pleasure”, and points out the Debate Club’s generosity in sharing the expansive knowledge on event-organising that they have with the MENA club. Although this is the first big collaborative event organised by the MENA Club, this is not the first event they organise. The MENA club is responsible for a variety of events in both the Segovia and Madrid campuses, such as the 3×3 Basketball Tournament in October, Game Night 2.0 in November, The Valentine’s Blind Dates in February and much much more.
The Debate Club
Although the event had a focus on the MENA club, it couldn’t have been possible without the Debate Club’s knowledge, expertise and intervention in the event. Pablo Cuesta, a Segovian 3rd year BCDM student and current president of the Debate Club, has aided the MENA Club in organising this large-scale event. Pablo describes working with the MENA Club as a “great learning experience for us as a club”, further adding that it was one of the first times the Debate Club “collaborated for one of our flagship events, and it has brought to us the opportunity to broader our committee topics to issues that affect the MENA Region specifically”.
Organising the event is no easy task, Pablo compares the organisation of this event to organising a “IEU MUN but a mini, very mini version of it”. Although it’s a small event, Pablo mentions it “does not mean that the organisation is more relaxed”, as many things have to be taken into consideration such as the “logistics of rooms and their bookings, as well as the rigor of the topics and the study guides that are behind the whole debate”. This event also serves as an “intensive training for our delegates” and as an experience for “people to have a first glance at what this world (MUN) looks like”.
Pablo mentions that although this is the first time they collaborated with another club to organise one of their flagship events, the Debate Club has a history of collaborating with other IE Clubs. Pablo gives us the example of “the economic debate we held this month with another Student Led organisation inside university”. When asked about future collaborations, Pablo hinted that “more partnerships will come in the future”, let’s see what’s to come!
The conference as a whole, was a great introduction for newcomers to MUN and a great review and practice for MUN veterans. The topics were varied, and all came from within the MENA club organisational team. Laith explains that the topics discussed during this conference provided a “unique insight into Arab Culture, in a form which combines politics, economics, social values and traditions of the Arab World”. The topics discussed during the conference were the 1973 Oil Crisis, The Formation of a United Arab Republic, and The Reformation and Development of the Arab Economy; all of which extracted very interesting and sometimes intense debates among the delegates.
This event ended with a grand Closing Ceremony, during which enlightening speeches from both Debate Club and MENA Club officers were delivered. These speeches ranged from emotional to comical, and served as a great conclusion to this event. During this event, it was announced that Pablo would step down as Debate Club president for the next year, and that this would be the last Debate Club managed event of the academic year. It was also announced that the MENA Club would organise more events next academic year to further spread awareness about the history of the MENA region and their current events.
In case you’re interested in being part of the MENA Club, Laith was kind enough to share all of the MENA club’s platforms for both Madrid and Segovia:
Having formed part of this event, I can say it was an enriching experience for both organisers and participants. We cannot wait to see what the MENA Club and Debate Club will bring to IE next year!