With the US elections just weeks away, students in the UAE are getting a close look at how the US government works through the American University of Sharjah (AUS) Model Congress Championship. Sixty-four students from 16 schools and universities around the UAE are participating in this online event, which will continue throughout October.
Normally an on-campus event that simulates the US Congress and its respective committees, the annual conference has been transformed into a virtual month-long debating championship to accommodate for the health and safety of its delegates, while preserving its main objective of educating the youth about everyday politics. In previous years, the AUS Model Congress brought students from all around the UAE to AUS to act as representatives and senators, and to discuss US political affairs in a system designed to be the most realistic representation of how the Congress works.
“Due to the current situation, we have introduced this year the AUS Model Congress Championship, which is a competition that brings together the best debaters in the UAE to discuss various key issues related to US political affairs. The focus this year will be on topics relevant to the US elections taking place in November 2020, such as budgeting for NASA, asylum-seeking, artificial intelligence, and many more,” said Lena Khalifa, International Studies student and AUS Model Congress President.
Each participating institution is represented by a team of four students, who were chosen for their extraordinary public speaking and debate skills, and who underwent an intensive interview process to take part in this nationwide competition.
Khalifa noted that the championship is using the platform Google Meets and will follow a knockout system in which two teams will face each other in a pre-assigned committee and only one will proceed further in the championship. All 16 teams will compete in the preliminaries, after which only eight teams will move to the quarterfinals. The top three teams will be declared the winners at the end.
The final debate will be held on October 31.