From left to right are Steven Awad, Elias LaChonce, Habeeb G. Awad (Advisor), Kharis Fullington, and Siah Gertz.

A team of four Hope College students participated in the Michigan University Model Arab League Conference that was held on Thursday-Saturday, Feb. 16-18, at Grand Valley State University.

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 international community.

Students role-play members of the Arab League during the model. Each delegation writes papers outlining its nation’s stand on the various issues being discussed and writes resolutions that are presented to the committees for discussion and voting.

Hope’s delegation represented Oman. Participating Hope students included: senior Kharis Fullington of Temecula, California/Bangkok, Thailand; sophomore Siah Gertz of Washington, D.C.; freshman Steven Awad of Germantown, Maryland; and sophomore Elias LaChonce of Oak Forest, Illinois/Amman, Jordan.

Habeeb G. Awad, international student advisor of the Center for Global Engagement at Hope, served as the group's advisor.

Michigan is one of several states that sponsor a state-wide, university-level model, held annually in late February.  Model Arab League is a student leadership development program administered by the National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations. Participants learn about the politics and history of the Arab world and the arts of diplomacy and public speaking. It is also a gateway to exchange programs in the Arabic world.

The other Michigan schools participating are Aquinas College, Grand Rapids Community College, Grand Valley State University, Spring Arbor University, Anderson University, Saginaw Valley State University and the University of Michigan-Dearborn.

Hope's Model Arab League, open to all of the college’s students no matter their major or field of interest, is looking to recruit for next year's team. Students who are interested are invited to email the team advisor, Habeeb G. Awad (, for more information.