Four Wilmington College students and two alumni will be spending a week in Rabat, the capital of Morocco, to participate in the Model Arab League, a program that informs young leaders about international issues and creates a greater awareness of the Arab world and its people.
Each student will represent a particular country and stand on a council related to affairs such as environment, politics, and economics. The structure is comparable to the Model United Nations, but it instead focuses only on the 22 member states that comprise the League of Arab States. The students that will be participating are Jese Shell, Michael Smith, Amanda Watson, and Tess Delcamp. The alumni that will be participating are Chris Howard and Maraya Wahl.
The Model Arab League (MAL) has been offered at Wilmington College for three years – first at the regional level beginning in the spring of 2016, next at the national level beginning in the spring of 2018, and now at the international level. Political Science Professor Marlaina Leppert-Wahl established the program on Wilmington College’s campus.
“I saw the Model Arab League as a way for students to learn about the politics and issues of the Middle East and develop valuable skills such as public speaking and diplomacy,” said Leppert-Wahl. “It has been a way for them to build community with other WC students as well as with other students in the region and now around the world as we participate at the national and international levels.”
Jese Shell, a junior studying Agriculture and Education with a minor in Religion and Philosophy, has participated in the regional MAL twice and the national MAL once. “I think the Model Arab League benefits me as a student because we need to be informed about everything going on in the world,” he said. “We’re all people and need to be aware of each one’s circumstances and what’s happening.”
A special travel fund established through the estate of Dr. Lewis Marcuson, a longtime professor of English and theatre at Wilmington College, has offered financial assistance to the students in order to make this experience possible. Shell shares, “I’m very grateful to the scholarship from the college that has allowed me to pay for my trip, participate in the MAL, and be able to tour parts of Morocco and get a sense of the history and culture.”
Mathew Hursey, a 2018 graduate, participated in the regional MAL for three years. “Model Arab League has personally allowed me to objectively look at issues and try to filter out noise and get to the core of any issue.”
Hursey plans to use these skills in his career with the USDA. “[MAL] teaches you valuable skills such as the ability to research a difficult subject and develop a strategy to address complex and multidimensional issues.”
Regional participation is currently a two-credit hour course in the spring taught by Leppert-Wahl. The group of students that have participated regionally is expanding each school year, and participation is not limited to any particular major.
To learn more about the history and purpose of the Model Arab League, visit the following website: https://ncusar.org/modelarableague/about-model-arab-league/about/.