Students Traveling to Morocco for Hands-On Learning Experience

October 5, 2018
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Model Arab League Designed to Foster Awareness of Arab World

by Maraya Wahl

Three Wilmington College students and three alumni will be spending a week in Rabat, Morocco, to participate in the Model Arab League, a program that informs young leaders about international issues and creates a greater awareness of the Arab world and its people.

PICTURED: 2018 graduate Sarah Liebowitz and junior Jese Shell converse at last spring national Model Arab League gathering. Shell is among the contingent traveling to Morocco.

At the convocation of students from around the world later this month, each student will represent a particular country and stand on a council related to affairs such as environment, politics and economics. The structure is comparable to the popular Model United Nations, but it instead focuses only on the 22 member-states that comprise the League of Arab States.

WC’s participants are junior Jese Shell and seniors Michael Smith, Amanda Watson and Tess Delcamp, along with two 2018 graduates, Chris Howard and Maraya Wahl. Dr. Marlaina Leppert-Wahl, associate professor of political science, who established WC’s program, is accompanying the contingent.

Model Arab League (MAL) is a hands-on learning opportunity available at Wilmington College since 2016, initially on the regional level for two years and at the national level beginning this past spring. The trip to Morocco represents entry into MAL’s international arena. Dr. Marlaina Leppert-Wahl, associate professor of political science, established WC’s program and is accompanying the contingent.

“I saw the Model Arab League as a way for students to learn about the politics and issues of the Middle East and develop valuable skills, such as public speaking and diplomacy,” said Leppert-Wahl. “It has been a way for them to build community with other WC students, as well as with students in the region and, now, around the world as we participate at the national and international levels.”

 Shell, a junior studying agriculture and education with a minor in religion and philosophy, has participated in the regional MAL twice and the national MAL once.

“I think the Model Arab League benefits me as a student because we need to be informed about everything going on in the world,” he said. “We’re all people and need to be aware of each one’s circumstances and what’s happening.”

A special travel fund established through the estate of Dr, Lewis Marcuson, emeritus professor of English and theatre at the College, helped make the trip possible for the students by covering many of the travel expenses during the Oct. 29 through Nov. 5 excursion.

Shell added, “I’m very grateful to the scholarship from the College that has allowed me to pay for my trip, participation in the MAL and being able to tour parts of Morocco and get a sense of the history and culture.”

Mathew Hursey, a 2018 graduate who participated in the regional MAL for three years, noted that “Model Arab League has personally allowed me to objectively look at issues and try to filter out the noise and get to the core of any issue.”

Hursey plans to use these skills in his career with the USDA. “[MAL] teaches you valuable skills such as the ability to research a difficult subject and develop a strategy to address complex and multidimensional issues.”

Regional participation In Model Arab League is a two-credit hour course in the spring taught by Leppert-Wahl. Participation is not limited to any particular major. More information about the history and purpose of the Model Arab League is available here.

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