New club forms to discuss Arab relations

Jessica Voorhees

A new club, the Model Arab League (MAL), began this semester to provide students with an opportunity to learn about diplomacy in the Arabic countries.

Crestwood junior Chris McKenna started the club after he discovered the MAL website while searching for internship opportunities over winter break.

McKenna said the MAL complemented his Political Science and Arabic majors, so he approached students with related majors to form a club at WKU. 

“I’m very interested in U.S. and Arab relations, so I reached out to friends with similar interests,” he said. 

McKenna approached Olive Hill freshman Alex Knipp to help establish the group. 

“I’m studying Arabic and International Affairs so it was like a dream come true,” Knipp said.

McKenna said the club operates similarly to a Model United Nations, except they discuss exclusively Arab relations. 

The MAL club will form a mock delegation for Sudan to discuss issues and vote on resolutions with other colleges representing nations within the Arab League at a conference. 

The club is set to attend the Southeast Regional Model Arab League conference in Spartanburg, South Carolina over spring break, where members will engage in conversations with delegates from 12 other universities.  

McKenna said the conference assigns each delegate to a different council. Each group will discuss separate issues, such as economic, political and social affairs.  

The club’s faculty advisor David DiMeo, assistant professor of Arabic, said the conference will give out an award for best delegation at the end.

McKenna said the club is now applying for grants and preparing for the conference by studying Sudan’s current political affairs.  

“I’m reading about Sudan and its political and domestic environment, and its relationship with the rest of the Arab League and with the Middle East,” McKenna said.  

DiMeo said any students interested in international affairs and the Middle East can join the club. 

McKenna said he would like to grow the club and recruit more delegates to become more competitive at future conferences. 

Another future goal is to win.

“In years to come I’d like to have more delegates to represent WKU to the best of our ability” McKenna said.