Students host Model Arab League

Juli Minoves-Triquell, associate professor of political science and faculty adviser of the University of La Verne chapter of Model United Nations, welcomes the members of the Model Arab League conference in La Fetra Lecture Hall March 10. Minoves-Triquell has a wealth of international diplomatic experience, including his service as the minister of foreign affairs and cooperation for Andorra. He is also the 13th president of Liberal International. / photo by Breanna Ulsh
Juli Minoves-Triquell, associate professor of political science and faculty adviser of the University of La Verne chapter of Model United Nations, welcomes the members of the Model Arab League conference in La Fetra Lecture Hall March 10. Minoves-Triquell has a wealth of international diplomatic experience, including his service as the minister of foreign affairs and cooperation for Andorra. He is also the 13th president of Liberal International. / photo by Breanna Ulsh

Deborah Lee
Staff Writer

With continuing tensions among Middle Eastern countries, debates about global issues have been on the rise, prompting students in Model United Nations to partake in the Model Arab League.

The event, which took place between March 10 and 12, models what U.N. ambassadors go through during their meetings.

Participants included about 60 students from University of La Verne, UC Santa Barbara and UC Riverside.

ULV was represented by Model U.N., a student club that promotes skills in diplomacy and negotiation.

Keynote speaker Tahil Sharma, University of La Verne alumnus and former member of the Model U.N. club, opened the 4th Annual Model Arab League Conference at 6 p.m. Friday in La Fetra Lecture Hall.

“Twenty minutes isn’t going to be a lot of time to talk about religion and politics, obviously,” Sharma said.

“Religion is diverse. It can be powerful yet dehumanizing, which has caused several problems in the past.”

Fares Abdullah, a freshman political science major, helped organize the event.

He said that because he is Middle Eastern, he has always been interested in participating and wishes to practice politics in the Middle East after graduating.

“Think of this conference as a body with a bunch of countries with a political agenda, and we are assigned to play these characters, ambassadors for these Arab countries,” Abdullah said.

“Our goal is to recreate the actions of how these countries would act.”

Patrick Reyes, junior political science major and co-chairman of the counsel of Political and Palestinian Affairs, said it was his third year participating in the conference.

He facilitates and directs the flow of the debate.

“This is something unique as to what our school runs,” Reyes said.

The three-day conference outlined a debate on four topics relevant to Middle Eastern affairs. They included joint defense council, social and environmental and political and Palestinian.

An agenda was established to agree on the order of the topics, then delegates – speakers representing an assigned country – were asked to negotiate and settle on a compromise.

“This simulates how the actual Arab League body works. There is an issue and everyone has to come together to a consensus,” Reyes said.

“All the countries have their own ambitions and the purpose of the conference is to work on negotiation skills of students.”

The conference allowed students to develop their skills in public speaking, negotiation, critical thinking, international affairs and learning about diplomacy.

“We all are competing for our own interests and we have to corporate if we want our resolutions to pass through the legislature,” Abdullah said.

“This conference is a simulation of the United Nations, but more specifically the Arab League of Nations.”

Sharma left the audience with one last quote, informing participants that religion and politics will always overlap with one another.

“If you are silent against injustice, you are on the side of the oppressor,” Sharma said.

The conference yielded winners for delegates, including the University’s team representing the Syrian National Coalition and UC Santa Barbara’s team representing Palestine.

University of La Verne winners were CAPA international studies major Gerald Badet and senior psychology and international studies major ShaiAsia Wannamaker as most distinguished delegates, and freshman political science major Jackie Ku as most honorable delegate.

Deborah Lee can be contacted at deborah.lee@laverne.edu.

Deborah Lee
Breanna Ulsh

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