More than 150 Arkansas high school students will participate in an annual international leadership program that gives students a taste of life as an international diplomat.
The University of Arkansas at Little Rock will host the High School Model Arab League conference on Friday and Saturday, Feb. 23-24. The Model Arab League is a student leadership development program created by theNational Council on U.S.-Arab Relations. It is a simulation of an international organization, the League of Arab States, which represents 22 countries.
“The Middle East is an area of critical importance to international politics,” said Dr. Rebecca Glazier, director of the UA Little Rock Model Arab League and associate professor in the School of Public Affairs.
“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 two-day event, high school students from across the state will serve as delegates on committees. The conference will be run by UA Little Rock students, who will chair committees, organize awards, and serve in key roles, such as secretary general.
A new exercise in this year’s conference will be a joint crisis simulation from 9-11 a.m. on Feb. 24 in Donaghey Student Center Ledbetter Hall, where all 150 students will work together to respond to an international crisis in the Arab World.
Nora Bouzihay, a first-year doctoral student at UA Little Rock and former president of the Muslim Student Association, who will give the keynote address at noon on Feb. 24 in Donaghey Student Center Ledbetter Hall about her work with the U.S. Department of State and refugees and her new business, NowaraCo, which makes headscarves and donates a portion of the proceeds to make headscarves for refugees.
Bouzihay is from Jonesboro, Arkansas. She is a first-generation college student who graduated from UA Little Rock in 2015 and earned her master’s degree in public service from the Clinton School of Public Service in 2017.
She spent the majority of her master’s thesis research abroad working with the U.S. Department of State in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. She is currently working on her Ph.D. in Education at UA Little Rock, serving as a graduate assistant for undergraduate academic advising and working with first-generation college students and minorities.