October 14, 2005
While about 20 countries are represented on the campus, a handful of OBU students have the opportunity to interact with other internationals and tackle significant issues in an academic setting each spring.
OBU has been participating in the National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations’ Model Arab League since 1992. Earlier this year, five OBU students represented Saudi Arabia in the meeting at Baylor University in Waco, Texas.
OBU participants were Mirela Azevedo, on the Palestinian Affairs committee; Cameron Blakemore, on the Interior committee; Glenn Tappert, the head delegate and part of the Joint Defense committee; Casey Thompson, on the Environmental committee; and Danae VanSickle, on the Social committee. Azevedo, Blakemore, Tappert, and Thompson were all awarded honorable mention in their respective committees.
The Model Arab League is a leadership program designed to help students learn to think on their feet as they pose as Arab diplomats, struggling through the world’s problems and trying to reach a policy consensus. The students are given a drafted agenda which becomes the basis of their research for a two-page policy statement which they have to bring into their committee meetings and discuss with their fellow committee members.
“The entire point of this simulation is to pass a resolution that addresses various issues in the Middle East,” said Tappert, who has attended three Arab League Simulations including a national simulation in Washington D.C. “You have to compromise and really learn to work with others, frequently even with people you wouldn’t normally associate with.”
“The simulation is really a wonderful opportunity for students to find themselves in real world situations,” said Dr. Glenn Sanders, OBU professor of history. “It’s also a good opportunity for them to build good oral argument skills. Students involved learn how to write memos and how to perform precise web-based research, but one of the primary benefits is that they get to meet and interact with international students.”
“My favorite part of the simulation was interacting with people outside of the committee meetings,” said Tappert. “People that go tend to have a wide range of interests and when they get together in a situation where debate and discussion are encouraged there are always interesting conversations.”
OBU students are scheduled to represent Iraq and Palestine at the 2006 simulation, which will take place at the University of North Texas. There is a class associated with the simulation, and it will begin meeting in the spring semester and will continue until the simulation, which takes place over two and a half days.