Grand Valley will host students from nine other institutions at the regional Model Arab League competition February 14-16 in the Kirkhof Center.
Students from Adrian College, Aquinas College, DePaul University, Grand Rapids Community College, Hope College, Spring Arbor University, Northwestern University, Saginaw Valley State University and University of Michigan-Dearborn will participate in the three-day event. Schools representing Arab countries will divide into committees to address current affairs in those countries.
Lizzie Heyboer, a junior majoring in international relations, will serve as secretary general for the competition.
“Model Arab League is a simulation where schools are assigned a country,” Heyboer said. “Within each country are committees, such as joint defense or political affairs committees. During all day events, committees gather to discuss problems associated with their countries and committees in a parliamentary system.”
Grand Valley has participated in Model Arab League for 15 years and it has been offered as a course for the past three years. This year, a registered student organization was established to allow students from all majors and students who had taken the course to participate.
“The students in the club participate in the exact same way as the students who are taking it for credit,” said Coeli Fitzpatrick, associate professor of philosophy in the Frederik Meijer Honors College, and Model Arab League adviser. “This includes some students who have never taken the class before.”
There are opportunities for study abroad scholarships and internships by competing in the event.
“It’s real-world experience,” said Heyboer. “I learned a lot from my classes, but to be immersed in one country’s policies is unique. It’s a great way to learn things from someone else’s perspective instead of your own.”
Model Arab League is sponsored by Middle East Studies, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Padnos International Center, Modern Languages and Literatures and Student Life.
The event will kick off with a lecture by Nadine Naber from the University of Michigan. She will give a presentation on Arab-American issues and issues in gender and cultural politics on Thursday, February 14, in the Kirkhof Center, room 2250, at 1 p.m.