For the 11th year in a row, Hope College students have won "Best Delegation" honors during the Midwest Model League of Arab States, held this year on Thursday-Saturday, Feb. 25-27, at Grand Valley State University.
The eight participating Hope students portrayed
two delegations during the event: Lebanon and Yemen. The
group portraying Lebanon won "Best Delegation" honors, with
the group portraying Yemen receiving "Honorable Mention."
Several students also received individual honors and were
elected to leadership positions for this year's and next
The purpose of the model is to introduce students
to the Arab world, to highlight the important issues in the
region, and to generate understanding about the patterns of
cooperation and conflict within the Arab world and with the
Students role-play members of the Arab League
during the model, working on one of five committees:
economic affairs, Palestinian affairs, political affairs,
security affairs and social/cultural affairs. Each
delegation wrote position papers outlining its nation's
stand on the various issues being discussed and wrote
resolutions that were presented to the committees for
discussion and voting.
Some of the issues discussed were the needs of
refugees, the problem of water scarcity in the Middle East
and access to health care.
Representing Lebanon were: Minerva Perez, a
sophomore from the Bronx, N.Y.; Jacob Sitati, a sophomore
from Kenya; James Sitati, a junior from Kenya (head
delegate); and Ghadeer Yaser, a sophomore from Palestine.
Representing Yemen were: Noah Dale, a senior from
Montpelier, Vt.; Jeremy Heavilin, a senior from Fennville;
Joseph Lenkart, a junior from St. Joseph, Ill.; and Whitney
Schraw, a sophomore from Boyne City (head delegate).
James Sitati was chosen the event's "Best
Committee Chair" for his work with the security affairs
committee, with Dale receiving "Honorable Mention" as chair
of the Palestinian affairs committee. In addition, Jacob
Sitati and Schraw received "Honorable Mention, Best
Delegate" recognition, for their work on the Palestinian
affairs and social affairs committees respectively.
Yaser chaired the event's Social Affairs
Committee. James Sitati was elected assistant secretary
general for next year's Model Arab League.
In addition, two Hope alumni served as secretary
general and assistant secretary general this year. Nasser
Al-Faqih was secretary general, and Aurora O'Brate was
assistant secretary general. Both are members of the Class
The Hope student delegation prepared for seven
weeks prior to the model. The students researched Lebanon
and Yemen, reviewed the current political situation in all
of the countries of the Arab League and practiced Robert's
Rules of Order. The Hope students have the option of
earning one credit hour for their participation. Their
advisor was Dr. Janis Gibbs, who is an assistant professor
of history at Hope.
The Midwest Model League of Arab States is
sponsored by Grand Valley State University, the National
Council on U.S.-Arab Relations, the Michigan Committee on
U.S.-Arab Relations, the League of Arab States Information
Center and the U.S.-Arab Chamber of Commerce. This was the
12th year for the event, which was first held in 1988.
In addition to Hope, schools participating in the
event included Aquinas College, Calvin College, Grand Valley
State University, Kalamazoo College, Spring Arbor College
and the University of Michigan at Dearborn.