More than 170 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. 22-23. 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 UA Little Rock Middle Eastern Studies Program donates the conference fees to help deserving high school students attend the conference.
The conference will be run by UA Little Rock students, who will chair committees, organize awards, and serve in key roles. UA Little Rock students who are helping to organize the conference and their positions include Jonathan Nwosu, secretary general; Mariam Bouzihay, assistant secretary general; Rashad Roberts, Joint Defense Council; Nora Bouzihay, Council on Palestinian Affairs; Sarah Fulmer, Council on Political Affairs Ministers; Faith Thomas, Council on Arab Social Affairs Ministers; Julie O’Hara, Council of Arab Economic Affairs Ministers; and Leon Kockaya, Council of Arab Economic Affairs Ministers.
Participating high schools include Bryant High School, Caddo Magnet High School, Conway High School, Fayetteville High School, Haas Hall Academy, Haas Hall Rogers, Jessieville High School, Little Rock Central High School, Pulaski Academy, and Texas High School.
Mariam Bouzihay, a UA Little Rock junior psychology student from Jonesboro, will speak at the conference’s opening session at 9 a.m. Friday, Feb. 22, in the Engineering and Information Technology Building Auditorium.
As the recipient of the Joseph J. Malone Fellowship in Arab and Islamic Studies, Bouzihay traveled to Qatar in November to learn about the country’s culture, society, and economics, as well as government priorities, concerns, and needs as pertaining to Qatari-U.S. relations.
“As part of the one year fellowship, I will implement a variety of programs, events, and outreach efforts in my home community,” Bouzihay said. “These programs aim to share my newfound knowledge of Qatar with the American public, multiplying the educational impact of the program. Many people are unaware of the true Middle Eastern and North Africa region, so it is important to spread my experience and the things I learned during that time.”