WASHINGTON, D.C. – Mercer University's Model Arab League recently brought home 10 individual awards and one team award from the 31st annual National University Model Arab League (NUMAL) in Washington, D.C.
A group of 15 undergraduate students represented Mercer among 379 students from 26 colleges and universities at the invitation-only conference, held March 28-30. Tasked with participating in an academic debate forum centered on issues relevant to the nations that comprise the League of Arab States, the Mercer delegation served as ambassadors of the Kingdom of Bahrain.
"Our students performed admirably and excelled in accurately arguing the position of the government of Bahrain on social, political, security, economic, human rights and environmental issues," said Dr. Eimad Houry, professor and chair of international studies and faculty adviser for Model Arab League.
The group received the Special Commendation Award for its representation of Bahrain, and several students received individual awards:
- Junior Maddison Cooper, an international affairs major from Savannah, and sophomore Colleen Closson, an international affairs and Southern studies major from Charleston, S.C., received Joint Defense Council Outstanding Delegate Awards.
- Cooper also was selected as a member of the Senior Secretariat to chair the Council of Arab Economic Affairs Ministers for 2014-15.
- Sophomore Emily Bless, an international affairs and French major from Acworth, and sophomore Katie Callaway, an international affairs, political science and French major from Newnan, received Special Council on Arab Human Rights Outstanding Delegate Awards.
- Sophomore David Wildes, an international affairs, Spanish and political science major from Valdosta, and senior Jazmine Wilcox, an international affairs major from Atlanta, received Council on Palestinian Affairs Honorable Mention Awards.
- Junior Jackson Brown, a philosophy and political science major from Athens, and sophomore Katie Dingivan, an international affairs major from Peachtree City, received Council of Arab Environmental Affairs Honorable Mention Awards.
- Sophomore Matt Ault, an international affairs major from Colorado Springs, Colo., received the Heads of State Council Honorable Mention Award.
- Senior Shelby Hall, a political science and German major from Gray and council chair, received the Joint Defense Council Honorable Mention Award.
"This was the 10th anniversary of Mercer's participation in National University Model Arab League conferences," said Dr. Houry. "Over that period, we have amassed many individual awards and were selected as the best delegation at the conference on two occasions."
The conference lasts three days, and delegates participate in two summit sessions and six committee sessions for a total of 26 hours of deliberations, negotiations and decision-making over the course of the event.
Started as an informal demonstration simulation at Georgetown University in 1983, the NUMAL has grown to host over 300 students annually. This year's event was held at Georgetown University Hotel and Conference Center. Other participating universities included Brigham Young University, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Virginia Tech, Northeastern University and the United States Military Academy at West Point.