Georgia Southern University received a new title early this month at the first regional high school level Model Arab League conference: the official host for collegiate level League conferences.
The debate team hosted their conference on Oct. 1, which featured three high schools, Frederica Academy, Statesboro STEAM Academy and Brunswick High School. GS’ debate team received so much positive praise, the university was named the new official host for the conferences.
The Model Arab League, which started back in 2014, is an academic debate team that allows university and high school level students to debate on worldly issues in the Arab world.
Each debate team picks a country, in which they study cultural, economic and other issues within their countries. In a two to three day competition period, delegates from the teams debate their issues against collegiate level and/or secondary level teams.
Arabic lecturer and advisor Youssef Salhi speaks on how the Model Arab League practices for competitions.
“We have meetings every Friday from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. in the Carroll Building and we discuss the different issues concerning the country that we are studying and go over debate procedures,” Salhi said. “Sometimes it can be a challenge because we want to make sure we know everything we are discussing and make sure that we are prepared, but we make it work.”
Tony Hudson, senior international studies major, and vice president of communications for the Model Arab League explains why the debate team is bigger than just debating.
“We are breaking down barriers and stereotypes of the Arab world,” Hudson said. “Our main goal is to provide a better understanding, not just to us, but to everyone else as well.”
Students involved in the Model Arab League are said to gain pivotal leadership in debating and critical thinking, but are also eligible for many travel and academic opportunities.
Amber Thompson, sophomore biology major, is excited that the Model Arab League is bringing awareness to issues in different countries.
“I think it’s important, for not just as college students, but as future leaders to be mindful of the different issues going on in the world,” Thompson said. “It’s pretty cool to see that they are debating on world issues.”
Kevin Corr, graduate student, believes that the Model Arab League allows students to open their minds to the outside world.
“I think that the League is something different than what most people are used to in their everyday life,” Corr said. “I think it would be beneficial for others to know about the League because it allows students to see what else is going on in the world besides what’s right in front of us.”