“The Middle East is an area of critical importance to international politics,” said Dr. Rebecca Glazier, director of the UALR Model Arab League and associate professor of political science. “Many of the issues there — from religious extremism to water shortages to gender inequality — are issues that matter for the whole world. Thinking through potential solutions to these problems is a great way for students to get engaged and feel hopeful about the future of the Middle East and the world,” she said.
During the March 4-5 event, high school students were assigned to represent a country from the League of Arab States. They researched the position of that country, served as committee delegates, and debated their positions with other delegates in the hope of passing resolutions favorable to their representative countries.
The delegates tackled numerous political, economic, and humanitarian issues, including refugees, nuclear weapons, ISIS, human trafficking, drug smuggling, endangered plants and animals, and literacy among populations in conflict.
“This was the ninth year that UALR hosted the Model Arab League,” Glazier said. “When we started, we only had 10 of the 22 Arab League countries represented. For the last two years, we have had all 22 states and even two observer states represented. In 2014, we had 96 students at the conference, and in 2016 we have added an additional committee, expanding the size of the conference to 136 students.”
UALR students led the conference by chairing committees, organizing awards, and serving in leadership roles.
“Overall, it was a fantastic conference,” Glazier said. “It is so exciting to see the high school students engage with challenging issues and come to agreements on how to deal with them. The UALR students are wonderful mentors, and the conference helped prepare them for when they will be delegates in the national Model Arab League conference in Washington, D.C. next month (April 8-10).”
In the upper right photo, Dr. Rebecca Glazier addresses the Arkansas high school participants of the Model Arab League March 4.