Model Arab League wins regional competition

The U’s Model Arab League earned the top honor at a regional competition in Denver, Colo., over the weekend by being named Outstanding Delegation.

In addition, U students Jack Lewis and D.J. Price were named Outstanding Delegates, and Danelle Johnson received an Honorable Mention award.

The Model Arab League competitions are similar to national Model United Nations matches, but on a smaller scale. The event includes a lot of resolution formation and working with other Arab countries-ones the countries represented would actually work with, according to Price, the vice president of the U’s delegation.

Each country is responsible for six committees, which address a broad range of topics including international, social and environmental topics, Israeli and Palestinian conflicts, joint defense and Arab economics, according to the U’s Model Arab League president, Debbie Dilley.

“Some schools have a seventh, which is the Arab Court of Justice, but we don’t have that here at the U,” Dilley said.

The U sent two teams to the competition to represent Libya and Qatar. These teams contested delegations representing six other schools from Colorado, Utah and California.

Representatives from the championship U squad insist the competition at nationals will be much stiffer, due to the popularity of the Model Arab League in the eastern United States.

The Outstanding Delegation plaque was awarded based on a final point tally reflecting how many resolutions the teams passed in the assembly of Arab nations and how well the team stayed in character with the country they were representing, according to June Marvel, a faculty adviser to the Model Arab League and the technical assistant in Middle East Center’s Outreach Program.

Thirteen U students are involved in the league this semester.

The club first collaborated and competed in a regional competition in 1994-a showing that earned them the same Outstanding Delegation award.

The Model Arab League has had an occasional presence since its successful 1994 display, surfacing only from time to time with ample members and interest to carry on the winning tradition.

Dilley, a senior at the U, has been a member of the club for the past three years and has helped motivate other students to sustain the program’s presence in her tenure.

Dilley explained the evolution of the league in the past three years which she has witnessed.

“I originally got involved because I saw an obscure flier that said, ‘Come join the Model Arab League,’ and I had some spare time, so I did,” she said.

“I declared myself dictator last year and was dually elected this year.”

It has been difficult for members to expand the program and maintain interest among the members whom they recruit, she said.

At the beginning of this semester, 30 students expressed interest in club involvement.

However, that number has dropped to the current 13, according to members.

The secretary of the U’s Model Arab League, Danelle Johnson, explained the difficulties in maintaining numbers at the U.

“We’re one of the few schools who do not have this as a standardized class with a standardized professor teaching it,” Johnson said. “The majority of the schools actually have a three-credit class every semester, and we don’t have the funding or the interest for that, so we run it as a club.”

Members said they appreciated Linda Adams, June Marvel and Peter von Sivers for their assistance in the program.

Dilley, Johnson and Price all agreed that the program could not exist without Adams and Marvel and the assistance of von Sivers as the new adviser.

The three leaders said the club teaches them a lot about Middle East politics while providing some entertaining competition and travel.

“It gives you an accurate representation of the area and it’s really interesting how different it is from what is represented in the news,” Price said.

Dilley added that the program is effective for establishing contacts both nationally and internationally.

“It’s a great opportunity to meet people. I’ve gotten to meet ambassadors and I actually went to the ambassador of Yemen’s house for dinner. Members of the real League actually watch the national competition,” Dilley said.

To get involved with this club, contact Linda Adams or June Marvel in the Middle East Center’s Outreach Program at 581-5003.

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