Five HWS students recently served as representatives of the Republic of Djibouti during the national Model African Union Conference at Howard University in Washington, D.C. where they deliberated on important policies and issues facing Africa.
Advised by Assistant Professor of Economics Keoka Grayson, the team from Hobart and William Smith, which included Oluwaseun Adetola ’17, Ato Bentsi-Enchill ’17, Chalwyn Caulker ’17, Donovan Hayden ’19 and Pamela Icyeza ’19, joined with delegates from other nations to convene subcommittees to deliberate on issues. For her efforts, Icyeza won a Distinguished Delegate Award in her subcommittee dealing with peace and security in Africa.
“I believe there were a lot of valid discussions held at the conference, especially within my committee,” Icyeza says. “I learned how to work with my peers and exchange ideas in a manner that highlights everyone’s talents. It was a great experience and I can’t wait to attend next year’s event!”
Bentsi-Enchill, who along with Hayden had previously participated in the Regional conference this past fall, says the program is significant in helping attendees gain experience about policy and international relations.
“I met so many interesting and enthusiastic Africans who are ecstatic at the potential of our continent and want to see a successful Africa in the near future,” says Bentsi-Enchill, who is from Accra, Ghana.
Through the conference, the delegation also had the opportunity to visit the Embassy of the Republic of Djibouti to confer with the Ambassador, His Excellency Mohamed Siad Douale, and his aides. In a meeting with Counselor of the Embassy of Djibouti Issa Daher Bouraleh, the students discussed Djibouti’s strategic position as a military base for the United States, France and in the near future, China as well as the peace issues regarding the Al Shabaab terrorist group in neighboring Somalia.
“As the Djiboutian representative in the Technical Committee on Social Matters, interacting with the Djiboutian counselor to the U.S. showed me what it means to be the voice of a nation abroad,” Caulker says.