Two University of Arkansas at Little Rock students received the Distinguished Delegation Award for their representation of Jordan at the National Model Arab League Conference April 4-9 at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.
Leon Kockaya, senior political science major from Istanbul, Turkey, and Brenden Gammill, senior history major from Little Rock, won the award while serving on the Council of Environmental Affairs Ministers. This is the first time UA Little Rock has won an award from the National Model Arab League Conference.
“We discussed topics ranging from the obligations of the Paris Climate Accords to water scarcity and issues of waste disposal and recycling,” Gammill said. “These topics are important everywhere in the world, but what is more important is gaining an understanding that even when facing something as ubiquitous as global climate change that all countries are unique and will be forced to make choices based on their own capacities, limitations, and conflicting goals.”
The Model Arab League is a student leadership development program created by the National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations. It is a simulation of an international organization, the League of Arab States, which represents 22 countries.
Twenty UA Little Rock students attended the conference, including Abigail Resendiz of Bryant; Ashlyn Johnson of Pocahontas; Benjamin Bowers of Benton; Brenden Gammill, Colin Davies, Jonathan Nwosu, Julie O’Hara, and Daniel Stuckey, all of Little Rock; Hedi Davis of Kake, Alaska; Jorge Luis Gonzales of Brownsville, Texas; Kevin Shatley of Hot Springs; Leon Kockaya of Istanbul, Turkey; Makell Swinney of Fort Smith; Mariam Bouzihay of Jonesboro; Maurico Bryant of Gurdon; Molly Edwards of Magnet Cove; Paige Topping of Pine Bluff; Ryan Bourgoin of Sherwood; Scott Foltz of Cabot; and Solane Nemera of Sherwood.
The students also met with Anas Al Oran, consular general of the Embassy of Jordan, on April 5 to learn what it is like to represent the country or Jordan in international diplomacy.
“I am incredibly proud of our team. This conference represents a national stage and to see our students succeed here is really wonderful,” said Dr. Rebecca Glazier, associate professor of public affairs and faculty advisor to the Model Arab League. “Getting to travel to Washington, D.C., work with students from around the country and the world, meet diplomats, and engage in simulated international negotiations is really a great opportunity for our students. This is exactly the kind of high-impact experience that sets UA Little Rock apart.”