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A&M-Commerce sends delegation to 'Model' summit

By Mitzi Y'Barbo
On March 7, 2012


A delegation of students from Texas A&M University-Commerce has traveled to Little Rock, Ark., to participate in the Model Arab League events taking place March 8-10.

Eleven political science and history majors from A&M-Commerce will be participating in the competition.  Political Science Department Head and Associate Professor Dr. JoAnn DiGeorgio-Lutz – whose focus is in Middle East politics – has been taking students to the conference since 1997.

The Model Arab League is sponsored by the National Council on U.S. - Arab Relations. 

"It takes the Arab League, which is an organization of the Arab states of the Middle East," said Adam Haney, vice president and Senate Chair of the Student Government Association, "which puts students in the role of representing the countries."  This will be Haney's second trip to the conference.

Most students on the team are members of Pi Sigma Alpha, the political science fraternity. Students are invited to apply and interview for a role on the team.

In order to prepare for that role, the students study past policies, stances, and the make-up of the country they are assigned. This year, A&M-Commerce has been assigned the country of Morocco. In past years, they have represented the countries of Yemen, Oman, Palestine, Lebanon, and Sudan.

The countries of the Middle East are divided among the schools who will be participating from different regions. A&M-Commerce is in the Southwest region.  Other schools participating include Baylor University, representing Bahrain, and the University of Arkansas, representing Algeria.

The event is set up as if it were a real conference, a meeting of the Arab League.  The participants have to "behave the way that country would behave, within the Arab League;" Haney said, "understand their policies and internal make-up so we can play the part, so to speak."

Councils are set up from each school, with students as members of the different councils to represent their country, such as joint defense, Palestinian affairs, political affairs, social affairs, environmental ministers and economic affairs. 

A new committee set up for this year's conference is the Special Summit of Arab Heads of State.  Team member Marcus Armstrong will play the part of King Mohammed.

Two International A&M-Commerce students will be participating on the team this year; Latifa Metaki, from Saudi Arabia, and Rinata Ziba from Macedonia.

"The purpose of the conference is to gain a better insight into the Middle East countries and their politics," Haney said, "then bring that knowledge back to campus to create more of a global standpoint."

The committees may put forth four to five resolutions, work on the wording, the nuts and the bolts, then send it forward to be adopted when the league delegates come together.

Those resolutions can then be pulled together by the National Council on U.S. - Arab

Relations and have a chance to influence policy from there.

A&M-Commerce hosted the conference in 2001.

There are similar conferences, such as the OAS, the Organization of American States of North and South America. The department hopes to send a delegation to this event in the future, with the help of Assistant Professor Dr. Robert Rodriguez.

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