The Northeast Regional Model Arab League Conference

Students gather to discuss and draft a resolution during a committee session. (Photo credit: Allegra Harris & Lara Cole)

This past weekend from Friday, November 4, to Sunday, November 6, marked the annual Northeast Regional Model Arab League conference held at Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts. The conference, organized by the National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations, brings students together to debate, discuss, and hypothetically solve actual political, social, economic, and environmental issues that the twenty-two members of the Arab League are currently facing. This year’s Northeast Regional Model Arab League was the first of the University Model Arab League conferences to be held since the Arab Spring began at the start of the year, which every student delegation used as a means of promoting international cooperation and human and economic development within their committees.

Universities in attendance included United States Military Academy at West Point, Colby College, Simmons College, Converse College, Northeastern University, Bard College, Endicott College, Emmanuel College, MIT, Drake University, Roger Williams University, Fitchburg State University, University of Massachusetts Boston, University of Massachusetts Lowell, and the University of Pittsburgh. Each university is assigned a country or countries to represent in Model Arab League. Students then choose which committees they’d like to participate in. This year, twelve students from the University of Pittsburgh’s Session: Middle East club attended the conference representing the country of Lebanon.

The three-day long conference is a simulation of the challenges that the Arab League as an international organization faces in addressing impending domestic and international issues pertinent to its Arab member states. Just as in the actual Arab League body, students must adhere to parliamentary procedure and observe appropriate, professional decorum at all times, as well as strictly adhere to the actual policies, ideologies, and worldviews of their respective countries. Each committee, which is headed by a committee chair who moderates debate and enforces the rules, addresses an agenda of four issues and either drafts or supports a resolution that is in the country’s best interest. Debates can get heated and passionate, but also humorous as students interact with each other more during committee sessions and during free time.

By the end of the conference on Sunday, students have gained more knowledge, creativity, and leadership skills than any class could ever teach. By providing a setting for active participation, direct communication, and compromise, Model Arab League encourages and promotes open mindedness, tolerance, and global awareness among the future leaders and decision makers in international affairs.

To learn more about the National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations, visit http://www.ncusar.org/.

To learn more about Model Arab League, future conference dates, and how to participate, visit http://ncusar.org/modelarableague/.

 

-Krista, World Affairs Council Intern

 

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