Katie Sallach, For The Miami Student

After its success in the Ohio Valley Conference, Miami University’s Model Arab League delegation received an invitation to the national conference, held at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. over the weekend.

At the national conference, Miami’s delegation performed very well, with Miami delegates Danny Hawk and Delaney Kelly earning honorable mentions and team member Lindsey Shephard winning an award as well, according to Miami’s Model Arab League president Becky Judeh.

Similar to Model United Nations, Model Arab League competitions include schools representing one of the 22 countries from the Arab League. Delegations represent their country to debate against other delegations to find a solution to current issues Arab nations are facing, including politics and environmental problems, according to Judeh.

Judeh said Miami’s delegation was started by Saleh Yousef and has been active for over three decades.

Competitions involve councils that delegations divide into, such as the Council on Palestinian Affairs and Council of Environmental Affairs Ministers. Each council receives its agenda topic and then drafts a solution for the problem. They then debate their solution against other countries and their solutions. Eventually a vote decides which delegation offered the best solution, according to senior Michael Dashner.

Dashner said some of the topics usually debated are solutions to water scarcity and the ongoing Israeli-Palestine conflict.

Before nationals, Dashner said he hoped the national conference would be an opportunity for the team to improve its skills and increase its knowledge.

“We’re hoping to increase our understanding of the countries and the problems and improve on our debating skills and our confidence,” Dashner said. “We’re looking forward to taking a more executive role in the competition and hopefully getting an outstanding evaluation.”

According to Dashner, Miami represented Algeria to compete against 22 other universities from across the country, including Northwestern University, the University of Pittsburgh, the University of Cincinnati and the United States Military Academy at West Point at the national conference.

The students debated topics including endangered species of Arab nations, situations involving the Gaza Strip and developing alternative solutions to bilateral negotiations with Israel, according to Dashner.

Miami’s delegation has been very successful this year, starting with their win at the Ohio Valley Conference. In addition to Miami winning the Ohio Valley Conference as a whole, some of Miami’s 12 Model Arab League delegates received outstanding evaluations for representing Algeria at the regional Model Arab League Ohio Valley Conference Feb. 16-18 at Miami.

The Miami delegation debated against nine other universities including the University of Cincinnati, Earlham College and John Carroll University, over solutions to problems the Arab World is facing, according Dashner.

In addition to the success of Miami’s delegation this year at the Ohio Valley Conference and at nationals, Judeh will be travelling to Palestine this year as part of the Interfaith Peace Building delegation.

According to Judeh, the Interfaith Peace Building delegation is a part of the Model Arab League focusing on the respect of all faiths and supporting equal human rights for everyone, especially in relation to the conflict between Israel and Palestine.

“As a part of the Interfaith Peace Building Delegation, I will travel from Israel to Palestine and learn about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict from various perspectives,” Judeh said. “In turn, I want to be able to return to the states and educate individuals on what I learn about. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a subject that I am very passionate about, specifically Palestine’s struggle in becoming a state.”

First-year Sarah Ross said the recent success of the Miami’s Model Arab League could bring a lot of needed attention to the group.

“I had not heard of this association previous to their trip to nationals,” Ross said. “It sounds like a great leadership organization that is on the rise.”