Hope College sophomore Colin O’Connor of Crystal Lake, Illinois, was named a “distinguished delegate” during the regional Model Arab League competition held on Thursday-Saturday, Feb. 18-20, at Grand Valley State University.

O’Connor was part of a team of four students from Hope representing the views of Lebanon’s Governing Council and the policy objectives of Lebanon during the Model Arab League (MAL). They debated against delegates from 15 other colleges and universities in four councils: Joint Defense, Political Affairs, Social Affairs and Palestinian Affairs.

In addition to O’Connor, the Hope delegation consisted of junior Madison Bush of Grosse Pointe Woods; sophomore Garrett Fogo of Boyne City, Michigan; and senior Tyler Peterson of Wheaton, Illinois.

MAL is dedicated to expanding students’ knowledge and understanding of the culture, history and politics of the Middle East. The competition was sponsored by the National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations (NCUSAR) based in Washington, D.C.

The Hope students participated under the auspices of the college’s Department of History. By participating in Hope’s MAL class, students learn about the Arab world’s political priorities and sharpen their skills in diplomacy and public speech. Their academic advisor and instructor was Habeeb Awad, who is international student advisor at Hope.

O’Connor, a history major, was on the Council of Political Affairs. Bush, an international studies composite major, was on Joint Defense Council. Fogo, a neuroscience major, participated on the Council of Arab Social Affairs. Peterson, a history major, was on Palestinian Affairs Council.

The countries represented during the event were Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Syria, Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen. In addition to Hope, the participating schools were Adrian College, Aquinas College, DePaul University, Eastern Michigan University, Grand Valley State University, Saginaw Valley State University, Spring Arbor University, Northwestern University and the University of Michigan-Dearborn.