UKZN’s School of Social Sciences and ACCORD host Model African Union Conference
The School of Social Sciences in collaboration with the African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD) hosted a simulated African Union (AU) Conference.
The aim of the Model AU conference was to familiarise students with the ideals and working principles of the AU through interaction on issues of migration and free movement of people, goods, services and the right of residency in Africa.
Students were tasked with conducting research on the following countries currently on the AU Peace and Security Council (PSC): Algeria, Botswana, Burundi, Chad, Congo Republic, Egypt, Kenya, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Togo, Uganda and Zambia.
Representing the 15 PSC member states, students spoke on the divergent positions and challenges to their ratification of the AU Protocol on the Free Movement of Persons in Africa - as envisioned in the 1981 African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights - and the 1991 Treaty establishing the African Economic Community (Abuja Treaty)
Students were given an opportunity to engage in intense debate in the simulated arena of the Peace and Security Council of the AU, with the session Chaired by ACCORD Adviser, Mr Kwezi Mngqibisa.
The Conference was the idea of ACCORD’s research intern, Ms Nonjabulo Buhle Mazibuko, who approached staff members at the School of Social Sciences to partner with ACCORD in organising the deliberations.
Political Science and International Relations lecturer Dr Lubna Nadvi said: ‘Participating students got a feel of what it is like to serve as an ambassador of an African state and present their nation’s position on a particular issue, such as migration.’
Dr Candice Moore of the School of Social Sciences chaired the feedback session; and ACCORD’s Senior Researcher Mr Charles Nyuykonge said the objective of the event was to expose students to continental issues in general and showcase the challenges which member states, their representatives and all stakeholders face in trying to reach common ground.
It is hoped the conference will become an annual event.
Words and photograph by: Nomcebo Mncube