Last weekend (March 16-18), over 175 college debaters from throughout the region and beyond participated in the Southeast University Model Arab League at Converse. In what has become a trend throughout the years, the Converse team dominated the event.
Modeled after League of Arab States parliamentary procedure, the event is a simulation in which students write, debate and pass resolutions on issues of concern in the Arab world.
With a sweep of the Outstanding Delegate Award in every committee, the Converse Palestine delegation took the Overall Best Delegation Award. “That was no surprise, but our primarily-freshman second delegation, representing the United Arab Emirates, took third place out of the 20 delegations and also received Outstanding Delegation citation. That was a bit unexpected, or simply the fulfillment of an ambitious dream,” said Dr. Joe P. Dunn, faculty advisor for the Converse team.
Kennesaw State University earned the second Outstanding Delegation Award.
Participating colleges included Converse, The University of Alabama at Birmingham, Mercer University, Furman University, Old Dominion University, The Citadel, Georgia State University, The University of North Carolina at Greensboro and The University of North Carolina at Charlotte. A team from Baldwin-Wallace College (Berea, OH) made the longest journey. Faculty from the University of Texas at El Paso, State University of New York at Suffolk County and several other colleges were in attendance as observers/judges as they prepare to bring delegations next year.
Award winners for the Palestine delegation were seniors, Kelsey Nichols (Matthews, NC), Tina Rohner (Kaufbeuren, Germany), Grace Bagwell (Boiling Springs, SC); juniors Nora Nassri (Orangeburg, SC), Baye Williamson (Kingsport, TN), Yosabeth Weldemedhim (Addis Ababa, Ethiopia); and sophomore Sarah Moser (Mooresville, NC).
On the United Arab Emirates delegation, award winners were senior Valerie Dowling (Columbia, SC); juniors Jodi Hylton (Dallas, TX) and Candy Kunze (Chester, VA); and freshmen Chelsey Boggs (Blythewood, SC), Amanda Stevens (Beaufort, SC), Kara Wroten (Myrtle Beach, SC) and Katelyn Ridenour (Spartanburg, SC) who took the unprecedented honor as both the Outstanding Advocate and the Outstanding Jurist in the Arab Court of Justice.
Seniors Kate McCormick(Henderson, KY), Nicole Poteat (Inman, SC) and Rebecca Brust (Marietta, GA) served respectively as Secretary-General, Assistant Secretary General and Chief of Staff. Juniors Sarah Walters (Midlothian, VA) and Mahal Woldetsadik (Addis Ababa, Ethiopia), and sophomores Megan Madison (Chester, VA) and Katie Moore (Moore, SC) served as chairs.
Converse 2006 graduate Holly Jordan (Ridgeley, WV) returned to serve in the very specialized role as Chief Justice of the Arab Court of Justice. The faculty sponsors voted Mahal Woldetsadik the Best Chair.
The Converse team is now in preparation for the March 30-April 1 National Model to be held in Washington, DC where it has emerged as a national powerhouse by earning top honors for 11 consecutive years, and has bested institutions including Harvard University, the University of California Berkley, Ohio State University, Northeastern University, the U.S. Military Academy, the U.S. Air Force Aca