Diplomatic simulation gives students insight into
and history of Middle Eastern region
By Vanessa Pettigrew
A conference featuring a diplomatic simulation of the politics and history of the Middle East took place at Converse College at Spartanburg, S.C., on March 17-19, with 21 schools participating.
Photo Courtesy of Dr. Freeman
Back row (from left): Dr. Kevin Freeman, Arthur Mellors, Matthew Hancock, Samantha Niday, Demetrus Sutton, Brandon Michael, Lorianne Keefe, Karen Hayes. Front row (from left): Vanessa Pettigrew, Kristen Moore, Jamie Eads, Angel Crosswell, William Grant, Samantha White.
It was first time in seven years that UNCP sent delegates to the Model Arab League.
Model Arab League is a student leadership development program administered by the National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations.
By simulating the League of Arab States, participants learn about the politics and history of the Arab world and the arts of diplomacy and public speech.
Each school is assigned a country.
This year, UNCP represented Jordan. Students from each delegation are broken down into councils (committees), and they research their country’s history and current issues.
Participants seek ways, through diplomacy and negotiation, in which the Arab community can deal with complex global concerns such as joint defense, Palestinian affairs, political affairs, social affairs, environmental affairs, economic affairs and the promotion of women.
Court of Justice
There is also a mock Arab Court of Justice.
Dr. Kevin Freeman, professor of political science and public administration, organized this year’s Model Arab League team.
“When I arrived at UNCP in the fall of 2004, I saw a student demand to participate in more university and department extracurriculars,” Freeman said.
“Given my past experiences, the Model Arab League seemed like a good fit,” he said.
Since this was the first time in seven years that UNCP students participated, many students were apprehensive at first.
Senior Arthur Mellors sums up his experience, “At first, I was pretty nervous, partly because I had no idea what to expect, but as things became more familiar and comfortable, my confidence really grew.”
“I met a lot of great people there,” he said. “From an experience that started from nerve racking, it turned into one of the most important experiences of my college career. I only wish I could do it again.”
Students, such as Kristen Moore, appreciate the value of the Model Arab League experience.
As she put it, “The Model Arab League is not only an amazing place to learn about the Arab community, but it has also taught me valuable writing skills, as well as how to be a lot more diplomatic.”
All participants were enthusiastic about UNCP’s participation in the Model Arab League.
Amanda Arial, Karen Hayes and other students expressed interest in participating in the Model Arab League during graduate school.
Dr. Freeman also sees a positive outlook on UNCP’s future with Model Arab League:
“Given the enthusiasm that I saw this season, I think that I would be foolish not to continue the program,” he said.
“We will have students returning next year who have experience,” he said.
“Recruiting for next year, and following years, will be that much easier,” he said.
Though a newcomer to the Model Arab League, UNCP definitely made a great impression on those present at Converse College at Spartanburg, S.C.
Two of the delegates, Arthur Mellors and Vanessa Pettigrew, were recognized with “Honorable Mention Outstanding Delegation Award” for their work on the Council on Palestinian Affairs.
“Given our performance this year, I see no reason why UNCP cannot become a delegation that wins awards year after year,” Dr. Freeman said.