Political Science students earn honors at mock international policymaking competitions

The award-winning McDaniel delegation to the regional Model Arab League includes, l-r, Claire Lawson ’16, Political Science professor Anouar Boukhars, Keegan Farley ’16, Bilal Ali ’16, John Collins ’16, Cody Knipfer ’15, Cole Harris ’16, David
November 21, 2013

Political Science and International Studies students were recognized as they apply what they learned in the classroom to real-life scenarios as members of the Model Arab League and Model European Union (EU) teams.

A team of nine McDaniel students, advised by assistant professor Anouar Boukhars, represented Iraq at the Capital Area Regional Model Arab League Nov. 9-10 at Georgetown University.  

All of the students are from Boukhars’ “Politics of the Middle East” class, and four returned to campus with honors: Junior Cody Knipfer of Ellicott City, Md., and sophomore Cole Harris of Timonium, Md., were recognized as outstanding delegates in their committee. Senior Phoebe McHale of Collegeville, Pa., and sophomore Bilal Ali of Hadley, Mass., won the best delegation award. McDaniel’s delegation also included sophomores Claire Lawson of McMinnville, Ore., Keegan Farley of Hampstead, Md., and John Collins of Easton, Md., and freshman David Whalen of Sewickley, Pa.

Ali and McHale won honorable mention awards for representation of Iraq in the Council of Arab Social Affairs Ministers.

Model Arab League competitions offer participants the opportunity to “gain practical knowledge of international diplomacy and policymaking in an interactive and engaging environment. Delegates also build critical leadership skills such as improved public speaking, the art of negotiation, coalition-building and argumentation, applied research, and intercultural understanding by approaching global issues through new lenses,” according to the league’s website.

Political Science students earn honors at mock international policymaking competitions
Cody Knipfer '15 (center) represents Greece at the Model European Union in Washington, D.C.

More recently, a team of 11 students represented Greece at the 21st Annual Mid-Atlantic European Union Simulation Nov. 14-16 in Washington, D.C. They were advised by professor and department chair Christianna Leahy.

Several students returned to the Hill with honors, including sophomore John Wontrop, of Glen Arm, Md., who was elected President of the Parliament, running against first-year student Ema Barnes, of San Francisco, Calif. Junior Cody Knipfer of Ellicott City, Md., won Best Prime Minister, and senior Phillip Farinella of Livingstone, N.J., won Best Minister of Labor.

McDaniel’s delegation also included senior Jessica Shearn of Westminster, Md., junior Meghan Johnson of Glen Burnie, Md., sophomores John Collins of Easton, Md., Kennith Rankins of Philadelphia, Katya Spitznagel of Parkton, Md., and Shannon Travis of Westminster, Md., and freshman Becky Weidman of Laurel, Md.

The Model European Union connects students to EU decision-making and politics “by bridging the gap between the academic study of the EU and actual political practices in the EU,” according to the simulation’s website.

Leahy said her students often cite these experiential learning opportunities as “one of the best experiences in their undergraduate education.”