Congrats to Mary Chikondi Ngoma (fourth from left), who was named a “distinguished chair” during this year’s regional Model Arab League.  She is pictured with Eunice Maruhi, instructor Habeeb Awad, Michelle Mathenge, Makena Mugambi and Kenneth Munyuza.

Hope College freshman Mary Chikondi Ngoma of Lusaka, Zambia, was named a “distinguished chair” during the regional Model Arab League competition held on Thursday-Saturday, Feb. 14-16, at Grand Valley State University.

Ngoma was part of a team of five students from Hope representing the views of Oman’s Governing Council and the policy objectives of Oman during the Model Arab League (MAL).  They debated against delegates from 10 other colleges and universities in five councils:  Environmental Affairs, Joint Defense, Political Affairs, Social Affairs and Palestinian Affairs.

Ngoma chaired the Council of Arab Social Affairs Ministers.  Because of the high quality of her participation this year, she has been selected to chair the Joint Defense Council for the spring 2020 Model Arab League.

The Hope delegation also consisted of sophomore Eunice Maruhi of Kenya, who was on the Palestinian Affairs Council; sophomore Michelle Mathenge of Kenya, who was on the Council of Arab Environmental Affairs Ministers; freshman Makena Mugambi of Kenya, who was on the Joint Defense Council; and junior Kenneth Munyuza of Rwanda, who was on the Political Affairs Council.

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 Fried Center for Global Engagement.  By participating in Hope’s MAL U.S.- Arab Relations conference, students learn about the Arab world’s political priorities and sharpen their skills in diplomacy and public speech.  Their instructor was Habeeb Awad, who is international student and scholar adviser at Hope.

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