The Model League of Arab States (MLAS) program is a competitive simulation in which students write, debate, and pass resolutions on issues of concern in the Arab world. Students win awards in their respective committees based upon their knowledge of their country’s positions and their argumentation, negotiation, and consensus-building talents.
“We were invited to compete in the Northeast Model because we have won Outstanding Delegation honors for the last seven years at the national competition,” said Dr. Joe Dunn, who trains the Converse delegation. He also serves as chair of the history and politics department at Converse and is the Charles A. Dana Professor of History and Politics. “The Ivy League schools-especially Harvard-are the strongest debate teams in the country, and we not only competed against them, we beat them.”
In the Model League competition, each participating college represents an Arab country on six committees: Joint Defense, Palestinian Affairs, Interior Affairs, Social Affairs, Arab Economic Unity, and Environmental Affairs. Delegates also argue matters of law in the Arab Court of Justice. Converse students, representing Kuwait, chaired three of the six committees.
Each committee selects an Outstanding Delegate by the votes of its members. An Outstanding Delegate receives two points, and an Honorable Mention receives one point. At the end of the competition, a Converse student had been named Outstanding Delegate for five of the six, giving the team Outstanding Delegation honors. The Harvard delegation was named runner-up.
The Converse delegation was comprised of: Casey Addis ’04 of Gaffney, S.C.; Mallory Beckett ’06 of Easley, S.C.; Courtney Clark ’06 of Duncan, S.C.; Josie Fingerhut ’05 of Black Mountain, N.C.; Libby Long ’05 of Columbia, S.C.; Meagan Moore ’05 of Spartanburg, S.C.; Melissa Pesaro ’06 of Spartanburg, S.C.; Erin Poston ’04 of Hemingway, S.C.; Rebecca Poston ’04 of Hemingway, S.C.; and Kelly Wilson ’04 of Columbia, S.C.
“It is probably unfair to single out any one person in such a uniform team effort,” said Dr. Dunn, “but Rebecca Poston deserves special mention. Serving as Justice to the Arab Court of Justice, she beat the Harvard team in her court case, and was selected as both the Best Advocate (for arguing a case) and the Best Jurist (for her work in deciding all the other cases). Her court case centered upon UN-enforced Iraqi reparations owed to Kuwait from the 1990 invasion. Because the Harvard team did not provide Rebecca with their brief until the evening before their case was scheduled (it was due upon arrival), she could have won on a forfeit but wanted to argue her case and spent the entire night preparing her defense.