For the 10th year in a row, Hope College students have won "Best Delegation" honors during the Midwest Model League of Arab States, held this year on Thursday-Saturday, Feb. 26-28, at Grand Valley State University.
The 11 participating Hope students portrayed two
delegations during the event: Algeria and Iraq. The group
portraying Algeria won "Best Delegation" honors, and six of
the students received individual honors. The awards were
presented by Dr. Barbara Roos, who is director of the
Michigan Committee on U.S.-Arab Relations as well as a
member of the faculty at Grand Valley State University.
The purpose of the model is to introduce students
to the Arab world, to highlight the important issues in the
region, and to generate understanding about the patterns of
cooperation and conflict within the Arab world and with the
Students role-play members of the Arab League
during the model, working on one of five committees:
economic affairs, Palestinian affairs, political affairs,
security affairs and social/cultural affairs. Each
delegation wrote position papers outlining its nation's
stand on the various issues being discussed and wrote
resolutions that were presented to the committees for
discussion and voting.
Some of the issues discussed were "A Role for
Europe and the UN in the Middle East Peace Process,"
"Reintegration of Iraq into the Arab Fold," "The Arab
Family: A Model for the West," "International Campaign to
Curb Extremism in All Its Forms" and "Palestinians:
Approaching a 50-Year Diaspora."
Representing Algeria were: Palesa Mazamisa, a
junior from South Africa (social affairs); Aurora O'Brate, a
senior from Spain (co-head delegate for Algeria, and
Palestinian affairs); Jacob Sitati, a freshman from Kenya
(economic affairs); James Sitati, a sophomore from Kenya
(co-head delegate for Algeria, and security affairs); and
Mlungisi Sisulu, a senior from Kenya (political affairs).
Representing Iraq were: Nasser Al-Faqih, a senior
from Palestine (economic affairs); Noah Dale, a junior from
Montpelier, Vt. (chair of political affairs); Matthew
Kuiper, a senior from Lansing (head delegate for Iraq, and
chair of Palestinian affairs); Carrie Tennant, a senior from
Pinckney (security affairs); Eric Vogel, a junior from
Orange City, Iowa (social affairs); and Ghadeer Yaser, a
freshman from Palestine (political affairs).
Dale was chosen as the event's "Outstanding
Committee Chair," and Kuiper received an honorable mention
for his work as a committee chair. The other Hope students
who won individual awards, from the committees on which they
served for being outstanding delegates, were: Al-Faqih,
Mazamisa, and Jacob and James Sitati.
In addition, Al-Faqih was elected secretary-
general for the 1999 Michigan Model Arab League, and O'Brate
was elected assistant secretary-general for 1999.
The Hope delegation prepared for eight weeks prior
to the model. They researched Algeria and Iraq, reviewed
the current political situation in all of the countries of
the Arab League and practiced Robert's Rules of Order. The
Hope students have the option of earning one credit hour for
their participation. Their advisor was Dr. Janis Gibbs, who
is an assistant professor of history at Hope.
The Midwest Model League of Arab States is
sponsored by Grand Valley State University, the National
Council on U.S.-Arab Relations, the Michigan Committee on
U.S.-Arab Relations, the League of Arab States Information
Center and the U.S.-Arab Chamber of Commerce. This was the
11th year for the event, which was first held in 1988.
In addition to Hope, schools participating in the
event included Aquinas College, Calvin College, Grand Valley
State University, Kalamazoo College, Spring Arbor College
and the University of Michigan at Dearborn.