Student members of the Model Arab League (MAL) on campus will travel next week to Washington, D.C. for a national summit. The summit, hosted by Georgetown University, will welcome teams from all over the country, including teams from Northwestern and West Point.
One group of MSU students will be representing Bahrain, a tiny country struggling with civil rights issues. Following the summit, MSU students will have the opportunity to interact with Bahraini officials. Students will attempt to gain valuable insight into the country’s political situation, as well as understand the effects of the general democratic movement underway in the Middle East. Another group will be representing Iraq in the Arab Court of Justice.
To get involved in MAL, students sign up for a course at MSU, this semester listed as PSCI 336 with Thomas Goltz of the Department of Political Science.
The following is an interview with Mark Bond, one of the students traveling to Washington:
Exponent: What is the Model Arab League?
Bond: The Model Arab League is a 30 year-old debate society created and run by the National Council on US/Arab Relations, designed as a simulation of the real Arab League. It has the same principle as Model United Nations, except it imitates the 22-member body comprised of Arab nations in the Middle East and North Africa.
E: What does MAL do for students?
B: Competing in the summit fosters skills in diplomacy, multitasking, impromptu public speaking, critical thinking and general leadership skills necessary for life. Studying the recent Arab Spring and the geopolitical shifts occurring in the Middle East over the last year has given our class a key position to discuss and address many injustices that have taken place in the region.
E: What is the responsibility of each student?
B: Students are assigned to represent a specific country within a specific committee, and then work with other nations to pass relevant resolutions. There are six committees that work on creating resolutions pertinent to their topics. For example, the Environment Affairs Committee focuses on pollution, issues of water shortage and development of renewable energy resources.
E: How does the Model Arab League benefit the community?
B: In order for the US to adapt to its changing role in world politics, its citizens must have an accurate and up-to-date understanding of both the culture and politics within the Middle East and worldwide. Also, considering the significant population of MSU exchange students from the Middle East, MAL participants are in a unique position to foster multicultural understanding right here in Bozeman.