Model Arab League places first in nation

Model Arab League places first in nation

By Jenna Duncan, News Staff

Northeastern’s United Nations Association placed first at the National University Model Arab League (NUMAL), beating out teams from 23 other colleges in the nation.

Model Arab League, a subsection of the Model United Nations (UN), where each university is assigned a Middle Eastern country and students learn about different aspects of the country ranging from economics, defense and culture. Students then go to conferences where they are broken up into committees with students from other schools to debate about these issues, simulating roles of diplomats on the actual United Nations.

“All the issues being debated are issues that are in the Arab world,” Matt Cournoyer said, president of the United Nations Association of Northeastern.

The team beat Georgia State University, the American University of Cairo and Converse College, which all placed in the competition. The 18 students who competed Washington, D.C. March 26 to 28 all won awards. The awards are given based on preparation, accuracy of country representation, public speaking and debate ability and ability to negotiate and contribute to the work of the committee, Cournoyer said.

“This is one of the strongest teams we’ve had in a while, but it’s been on campus for over 10 years,” he said.

The last time a team won awards in every committee at the National conference was also Northeastern in 2006. The team is coached by Philip D’Agati, an adjunct political science professor, and is in conjunction with a Model UN class.

Following the win, the group met with officials of the Saudi Embassy to the United States, including HRH Abdulaziz bil Talan bin Abulaziz Al Saud.

Additionally, Cournoyer was selected by the National Council on United States Arab Relations to be the 2011 Secretary General.

Earlier in the season, the team won first place at the Southeast Regional Model Arab League conference. Also, Northeastern hosted the Northeast Regional Model Arab League this year.

“I enjoy learning about the Arab world and issues pertaining to the middle east and the debate experience that goes with it,” he said, who is majoring in political science and international affairs. “It’s a great chance to learn public speaking, negotiation and diplomacy first hand.”

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