During its first ever participation in the Model NATO Conference, a group of Converse College debaters was collectively named Outstanding Delegation, the conference’s top honor. Because of their demonstrated leadership skills, the, conference officials asked Converse to assume responsibility of running the national event next year.
The ten-member Converse delegation squared off against 23 delegations from 18 other colleges and universities from throughout the country in the 20th annual National Model NATO Conference in Washington, DC Feb. 23-26. Other institutions represented included Kent State University, the United States Naval Academy, the University of Pittsburgh and Howard University. Joining Converse in receiving Outstanding Delegation honors were Allegheny College and The Citadel.
The Model NATO Conference is a simulation of the proceedings of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, augmented by pre-conference study and embassy briefings. Each participating institution represents a member state of NATO in such areas as nuclear planning, defense planning and political-military relations. The Converse delegation represented Norway.
“The Converse delegation performed brilliantly,” said Dr. Michael C. Nwanze of Howard University, and coordinator of the conference. “Perhaps their strongest talent is being so well versed in the importance of procedure, which is something that many college delegations have yet to fully grasp. The Converse students are also unusually strong in the strength of their preparation; they know the issues inside and out, and know how to get their point across.”
Because Converse will be running the conference next year in Washington, the secretary-general, assistant secretary-general and all committee chairs will all be Converse students.
Converse College is already recognized as a national powerhouse in the Model League of Arab States program, a competitive simulation in which students write, debate and pass resolutions on issues of concern in the Arab world. The delegation has received top honors at the regional and national level for nine consecutive years, and has bested Ivy League institutions including Harvard, Cornell, and Dartmouth.
“By participating in Model League of Arab States and Model NATO, I have learned the power of knowledge and diplomacy,” said Converse senior Libby Long, a politics and theatre major from Columbia, S.C. “While we work extremely hard in researching issues, we also spend a great deal of time mastering the art of debate.”