(March 19, 2012)

Model Arab League brings home honors

SHREVEPORT, LA — Centenaryís Model Arab League (MAL) team returned from the Southwest University MAL, March 8-10, after serving in leadership roles and receiving various honors. Twelve colleges and universities, including Centenary, represented 15 of the 22 members of the Arab League. Centenary chose Syria, a region that currently faces rebel insurrection and civil war.

MAL Logo

"Representing the Assad regime gave the team more material to work with as it had roughly 40 years of policy decisions for us to consider in our research," said junior Jordan Ring, political science major and chair of Council of Social Affairs Ministers for MAL. "Over the course of the semester the regime was suspended from the actual Arab League, which presented some unanticipated consequences. There were times when our delegatesí opinions or suggestions were stone-walled because other delegations didnít want to work with 'Assad.'"

Celia Sobelman, Jordan Ring, Elizabeth Rosselli, Yese Vargas, Zac Cowsert, Adam Gatlin, and Laura Deen represented Syria as Centenaryís Model Arab League. Dr. Chad Fulwider, assistant professor of history, and Dr. Kelly Weeks, associate professor of business, served as faculty advisors.

Freshman Celia Sobelman served as head delegate, bearing the name of "President Bashar al-Assad of Syria" throughout the conference. She represented the team at the opening and closing summit meetings and at the Heads of State Panel.

Despite only being her second time participating in MAL, Jordan Ring was selected as Chair of the Social Affairs Council. Ring was nominated by administrative members and faculty of the National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations (NCUSAR) as Outstanding Chairperson.

Seniors Zac Cowsert and Adam Gatlin were both given honorable mentions for their work on the Joint Defense Council. Both Cowsert and Gatlin became active participants in the committee sessions despite almost being denied a chance to serve. At opening session, motions were put forward to prohibit Syria from participating in the Joint Defense Council, but the motions were defeated.

Though they have just returned, the team is already looking toward future opportunities offered through participation in MAL. Celia Sobelman and freshman Laura Deen have applied to serve as council chairs for next year, when the Southwest MAL will be held at Texas A&M Commerce.

MAL participants are also eligible for Arabic language programs, summer internships, and cultural immersion/study abroad trips funded by the NCUSAR headquartered in Washington, D.C. Both Jordan Ring and Laura Deen have applied for all-expenses-paid two-week trips to study in Lebanon with a 10-student team in July 2012.

Through participation in the National Council on U.S.-Arab Relationsí Model Arab League program, students learn about the politics and history of the Arab world and the arts of diplomacy and public speech. MAL helps prepare students to be knowledgeable, well-trained, and effective citizens as well as civic and public affairs leaders.

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