During their 2015 Spring Break, three WKU students immersed themselves not in the sunshine of a Caribbean beach, but in some of the most sensitive diplomatic challenges in the Middle East.
Senior Christopher McKenna, a Political Science and International Affairs major from Crestwood; sophomore Tyberius Knipp, an International Affairs major and Arabic minor from Olive Hill; and freshman Alexandria Knipp, an International Affairs and Arabic major from Olive Hill, participated in the Southeast Regional Model Arab League conference March 13-15 at Converse College in Spartanburg, South Carolina. The Model Arab League chapter was established at WKU in January.
Alexandria Knipp, who represented Sudan on the Council of Arab Social Affairs Ministers, was recognized as an Honorable Mention Delegate.
“I helped draft resolutions with other countries to address concerns with refugees, foreign workers, orphans, access to healthcare, and globalization in the Arab states,” she said. “It was a great experience to learn more about diplomacy and the Arab world.”
At a time when Middle East issues fill the news and often confound American analysts, the Model Arab League provides a great opportunity for any interested students to get an insiders’ perspective on the complexities of dealing with the region’s challenges, said Dr. David DiMeo, faculty advisor and assistant professor of Arabic.
McKenna, who represented Sudan on the political affairs committee, observed that “to encourage authenticity and educational value we represented our countries not only by name, but also their beliefs, values, and how they would act in international policymaking. Therefore I had to be very knowledgeable on the people, politics, and diplomatic norms of Sudan.”
Alexandria Knipp added: “Model Arab League is a perfect combination for students interested in International Politics and Middle Eastern Studies. Yet, there are many different councils to participate in that appeal to a wide array of interests, such as the Environmental, Military, Arab Youth, Political, and Palestinian Affairs councils.”
About Model Arab League: Sponsored by the National Council on U.S.–Arab Relations, Model Arab League hosts more than 20 conferences each year, with participation from more than 2,000 university and high school students. Established in 1983, the Model Arab League is a student leadership program similar to the Model United Nations. The organization, according to its website, allows students to put themselves in the shoes of real-life Arab diplomats and other foreign affairs practitioners. In the process, participants discover how different these realities of international relations are in comparison to what they previously thought.
Contact: David DiMeo, (270) 745-6408