Montana State University

MSU students win big at Model Arab League competition

May 3, 2010 -- MSU News Service

Montana State University's student delegation, pictured here, won big at the 15th annual Model Arab League debate competition held recently in Missoula. Photo courtesy of Thomas Goltz.   High-Res Available

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MSU News Service
Tel: (406) 994-4571
The Montana State University delegation to the 15th annual Model Arab League debate competition held in Missoula, April 8-10, claimed five of five Best Delegate awards, two of five runner-up Best Delegate awards, along with the Best Country Team award and runner-up to Best Overall Delegate.

The Model Arab League is a nationwide simulation of the 22-country Arab League summit where students represent country committees in formal debate. This year, the MSU team was assigned to represent Algeria, Egypt, Yemen, Qatar, Jordan and Mauritania in the competition. The real Arab League summit was held in Sitre, Libya in March, and hosted by Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Qadhafi.

The official agenda for the competition was assigned from the Washington DC-based National Council on US Arab Relations -- -- and included everything from renewing Arab League commitment to the Geneva Conventions, to addressing the issue of substance abuse in the Arab World, to strengthening the relationship between the Arab League and other international institutions, to addressing the issue of alternative energy opportunities.

Many of the MSU students who competed in the league were part of a new, experimental MSU class, "Model Black Sea Economic Cooperation," taught by Thomas Goltz, political science adjunct professor. The course is unique in the United States for its emphasis on the political, economic, military and environmental situation of the Black Sea region as well as for its hands-on diplomatic debate simulations in which students participate. Partial funding for the course was provided by H.E. Consul General Elin Suleymanov of Azerbaijan.

MSU's student winners are listed with the country and committee they represented: The Best Delegate winners on the MSU team were Richard Gauron (Algerian Joint Defense), Logan Brown (Qatari Palestine Affairs), Emad Alahmadi (Qatari Social Affairs), Steven Babbitt (Algerian Political Affairs), and Laura Villegas (Algerian Environmental Affairs), while Elizabeth Schweigert (Egyptian Social Affairs) and Jaimie Gilbertson (Yemeni Political Affairs) received runner-up prizes in their committees; Andrew Waters (Egyptian Environmental Affairs) received a special recommendation for doubling between being a full-time delegate on his committee to becoming a theoretically neutral Vice Chair, while Claire Michaels (Algerian Social Affairs) was elevated from Best Delegate in that committee to receive the runner-up prize for Best Over-all Delegate. The Algeria team received the Best Country Delegation award, with Qatar running a close second.

Thomas Goltz, adjunct professor, 406-994-5166 or