“Houcine Jedli, ALAMAU 2019 Committee Chairperson of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, tells us more about his passion for International Relations, his experience at Harvard Model United Nations 2018 Conference, as well as Economic Integration in the continent and its contributions to Pan-Africanism.
Please tell us who Houcine Jedli is, where he is from and what are the experiences that have shaped you to be who you are today?
My name is Houcine Jedli, originally from the small town of Kasserine in the west of Tunisia. Every experience in my life changed the course of my life. I’ve had a variety of experiences in technology and business mainly from developing products to founding startups. All these experiences have helped me enhance my hard and soft skills. The most influential experience in my life is probably growing up with the greatest mother ever who helped me build confidence, resilience, and courage at a young age. If you are reading this, thanks mom!
When did you realize that you are interested in International Relations?
International Relations wasn’t something I thought I’d be interested in. I am not someone who’s passionate about following protocols and writing long pages of regulations and treaties. However, in the last few years, as I started to link the dots, I found out that international relations does, to a certain extent, influence all aspects of our lives: the countries we can visit, the prices of commodities and services, the technology that’s being developed, and even the lives of people we know and care about. The fact that International Relations can touch on a variety of elements all at once is what brought me to International Relations and brought to me the belief that there’s a space for everyone in International Relations regardless of their interests.
Tell us a little bit more about your experience at Harvard Model United Nations 2018 conference. What are some of the insights and knowledge that you gained from the conference?
Harvard MUN was a phenomenal experience! 3000 competitive students from the four corners of the planet gathering together to suggest solutions for world issues. As the representative of Equatorial Guinea, I was able to develop diplomatic argumentation that takes into consideration both the reality and the aspiration. Harvard MUN was also a great experience in understanding people and behavior: Being able to understand the motives every nation has helped me develop my communication skills in my daily life. Harvard MUN helped me realize the importance of every single detail in the work you do and the implications it may have on the bigger picture.
What is the work that you do now for ALAMAU 2019?
After serving as Deputy Chair for New Partnership for Africa’s Development in ALAMAU 2018, I am currently chairing the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa which we will be discussing the Enhancement of Intra-continental Trade to Ensure Economic Integration. What I do consists mainly of preparing the study guide for my delegates through massive research on the problems and the opportunities our continent has with regards to trade. I also receive and offer feedback from the other committees’ chairpersons which helps us develop better ideas and improve the quality of our study guides.
Being a committee chairperson has been an excellent learning experience! Being able to develop research skills while discovering a topic that I am incredibly passionate about has been a pleasure. This is also contributing to my growth by allowing space for both individual and teamwork at the same time. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank every member of the research team of ALAMAU who has been making tremendous efforts to ensure the quality of the work we provide.
Please share a little bit with us about the topic you are working on for the ALAMAU 2019 conference.
a) What inspired you to delve into this area of research?
What I find interesting about Africa is that it’s the wealthiest continent, yet the poorest continent. The resources available on this land is used in the manufacturing of most high-tech products we use; yet, the infrastructure is not good, and diseases still continue to spread. This irrational contradiction wasn’t the case in one country but almost every country which made it seem more of a systematic problem than a national issue. This aroused my curiosity to examine carefully the issues and the mechanisms in place that led to unexpected consequences.
b) How do you think Pan-Africanism and Economic Integration and Intra-Continental Trade are related (directly or indirectly)?
Pan-Africanism can’t be complete without an economic integration in the continent. If a large number of African countries still trade with their colonizers more than their African neighbors, we have a problem. Unifying the African market will facilitate the growth of businesses and the share of prosperity all over the continent. A full economic integration will allow African goods to be cheaper for African companies and African consumers. Every African will be able to enter every African country, from Cape to Cairo, without a passport.
Do you have any piece of advice to our ALAMAU 2019 delegates in terms of getting prepared for the conference and research?
The research team has been working very hard to ensure the quality of the study guides to make sure you guys have a great learning experience so please make sure you read them. I can’t emphasize this enough! If you don’t, you will sit there for hours not knowing what’s going on and you won’t be able to represent your country or to participate constructively in the debate. There shouldn’t be any excuses for not preparing for the conference!
Also, prepare to deliver your speeches, to respond to questions and get ready to impress other delegates with your eloquence and your arguments.
Article edited by: Moitse Kemelo Moatshe
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