MAL is a mock conference where students represent one of the 22 member states of the League of Arab States and debate regional and global issues that affect those states. This year, UM-Dearborn sent 11 students in two delegations, representing Egypt and Oman, with the Egyptian delegation earning the Outstanding Delegation Award.
“When you have a group of people who are passionate about the same thing it’s so much easier to work together,” said international affairs major student John Burke, a member of the Egypt delegation. “We all genuinely enjoyed discussing and listening to what one another had to say about Middle Eastern affairs.”
In preparation for the event, students participated in four two-hour training sessions and completed research and readings together to plot strategy, discuss parliamentary procedures and draft resolutions.
“Students study their country and the issues affecting their country,” said Political Science Professor Ronald Stockton. “They prepare resolutions that their country would like to see adopted, and they also study the relationship of their country with other countries, regional issues, their country’s position with the region, its problems, its positions, its demographics, etc.”
Stockton said the winning streak is nice, but the bigger reward comes from the change he sees in his students year after year.
“I see students transformed by this event,” he said. “I had one student tell me that she would never have gotten through her law orals without this program. Another student—who was a noted public speaker—told me that he had never engaged and advocated for his positions in this way. He found it a transformative experience.”
In addition to the team delegation award, UM-Dearborn students earned two Outstanding Delegate awards—Burke and software engineering student Mohamed Al-Jabery—and four Distinguished Delegate awards.
Al-Jabery, who participating in MAL for a second year, credited Stockton for the university’s continued success in the competition.
“The vast knowledge and love he has for the Middle East really motivated us to make him proud,” he said. “It’s been such a life-changing experience all thanks to him.”