October 2016 Launch Event Recap


On October 6, 2016, American University students and faculty joined diplomats, international policymakers, and the greater DC community for the inaugural event of the innovative “Model G20 Initiative” (MG20). Recognizing the G20’s influence in shaping today’s world, American University’s School of International Service (SIS) has designed the first U.S.-based standalone experiential learning program on the G20 to provide students with professional skills to navigate the current and future international economic challenges. The Dean of SIS, James Goldgeier, chaired the event at the School’s main atrium.

Representing the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China, this year’s G20 host country, Minister Li Kexin highlighted the achievements of the recent “G20 Hangzhou Summit” and emphasized the value of the new SIS initiative: “An innovative program designed to develop understanding of G20 among students, the Model G20 Initiative will be an effective platform for young people, from both the United States and other countries, to improve their wisdom and thoughts on international economic institutions and accomplishments”.

The Secretary-General of the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD), Angel Gurría, delivered the event’s keynote address on the contributions and challenges of the G20. Mr. Gurría highlighted: “The G20’s response to the global financial crisis is an excellent example of its nature […] to co-ordinate macroeconomic policies, develop the largest internationally co-ordinated stimulus package in history, and spearhead new approaches to financial regulation and supervision”. Mr. Gurría also reviewed the contributions of the OECD as an active partner of the G20, providing policy expertise and analysis to support the Group’s efforts. The OECD Secretary-General underlined as well the positive role of programs like MG20 quoting President Franklin D. Roosevelt: “We cannot always build the future for our youth, but we can build our youth for the future, and this is why we have the G20 model.”

Cecilia Nahón, MG20 Initiative Executive Director and former Argentine Sherpa to the G20, delivered the closing remarks: “We are very excited to launch the Model G20 Initiative at American University to train students on the agenda and inner-workings of the G20, to prepare them to negotiate, to persuade and to arrive to agreements, and also to defend their ‘red lines’ and their national interests, no matter how big you are and no matter how hard you have to work.”

The first US-based Model G20 Summit will take place between March 17 and March 19, 2017 at SIS. It will begin with a one-day symposium featuring a series of panels, presentations, and workshops to provide participants an extensive overview of the G20, its internal dynamics and its role in global affairs. Following, delegations will engage in a two-day simulation encompassing the initial negotiation process up until the G20 Leaders’ Summit itself. MG20 will help students develop skills in multilateral negotiations, public speaking, effective argumentation, and diplomacy.

Mitchell Lenneville