MAL Frequently Asked Questions


What is Model Arab League?

Since its founding in 1983, Model Arab League has been the leading program in the United States for giving students hands-on experience with the regional and international politics of the Arab World. Tens of thousands of students have graduated from the program, and many have gone on to leading positions in business, government, and academia. During this upcoming school year more than 2,000 students representing hundreds of schools will participate in the University and High School MAL programs.

A highly competitive academic activity, the Model Arab League simulates meetings of the League of Arab States.  Participating delegations become diplomats for the weekend and represent one of the League’s 22 member states in both general and specialized councils. Students draft resolutions addressing the important regional and global issues outlined in an Agenda that closely mirrors real world Arab League issues. These resolutions are debated in moderated council sessions following rules of parliamentary procedure. If passed, these council resolutions are presented to the entire conference during a Summit Session for closing debate and a final vote.

 

Is Model Arab League similar to the Model United Nations?

The similarities between Model Arab League and Model United Nations are tantamount. Both Models use a variant of Roberts Rules of Order for their parliamentary procedure and the goals of debate are analogous: Delegates aim to build consensus with each other, while generating solutions to solve the complex issues of their region of origin. Participants in each model may write position papers based on their nations’ policies or may hold different leadership positions in the infrastructure of the conference, like presiding as a council chair or as a Secretary-General.

Pre-conference preparation for Model Arab League and Model United Nations are also similar in that students devote time to researching the positions of their assigned country and to developing points and agendas to discuss in committee.

 

How are Model Arab League and Model United Nations Different?

Although the likenesses between Model Arab League and Model United Nations are quite tangible, there are some stark differences. Firstly, the Model Arab League operates fewer conferences per year than does the Model United Nations—21 and 400, respectively, to be exact. All Model Arab League conferences are also sponsored and supported directly by the National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations, resulting in a cohesive nationwide program backed up by a dedicated, full-time staff in addition to local coordinators.

Additionally, the Model Arab League consists of 22 League of Arab States nations, versus the United Nations’ 193. This smaller country pool creates an environment where ample participation in formal debate and caucuses are the norm, not the exception. Participants consistently praise the enhanced ability to speak and influence the council and the unparalleled environment in which delegates can peer network, make friends, practice diplomacy, and build consensus.

 

What do students gain from competing in Model Arab League?

Model Arab League provides students an in-depth understanding of the world’s oldest regional body and deepens their knowledge of the history, culture, religion, economics, and politics of both their assigned country and the region as a whole. Through active participation in a model, students develop and sharpen skills in debate, consensus-building, critical thinking, parliamentary procedure, and public speaking.  By arguing the positions and foreign policy objectives of the Arab countries, MAL participants gain personal insights and a meaningful understanding of the issues underlying U.S.-Arab relations.

Throughout a MAL conference, participants are evaluated both their peers and by judges. Awards are presented to outstanding participants based on their individual accomplishments and overall team achievements. In addition to awards outstanding MAL participants are given preferential consideration for National Council internships in Washington, DC and Council study visit programs.

 

Where do Model Arab Leagues take place?

There are currently 14 University and 5 High School Model Arab League simulations across the country. In addition, a National University Model and a National High School Model are held annually in Washington, DC. A comprehensive list of dates and locations can be found on the Model Arab League website.

 

Do I need to have studied Middle Eastern politics to participate?

Prior knowledge of the affairs of the Arab region is not required to participate in Model Arab League. In fact, one of the Model Arab League’s main goals has always been to introduce students of all ages, majors, and backgrounds to the dynamics and culture of the Middle East. The uniqueness of Model Arab League is that participants gain the ability to understand a new culture by placing oneself into the shoes of an Arab diplomat and make decisions from their viewpoint. By acting as an individual with different assumptions and national interests, one gleans insight into Middle Eastern policy—an opportunity that is special and rare.

 

Can I get my school involved in Model Arab League?

Absolutely! Starting a team does not have to be overwhelming. Some teams function as small student clubs while others exist within school sponsored organizations with year-round activities. You might even find your school able to offer course credit for participating! Please feel free to browse the MAL website or contact the National Council for more information and suggestions on how to start a team.

 

How do I prepare for Model Arab League?

As a start the National Council’s website,  ncusar.org/modelarableague, contains many helpful resources. From the site you can obtain the Model Arab League Handbook, find research resources, and access background guides written by the secretariat of the National University Model. You can also consult your faculty advisor to help locate resources with current information on your assigned country’s background and major foreign policy objectives.

 

Are there benefits to becoming a Model Arab League alum?

Not only does your participation in Model Arab League solidify the aforementioned academic and professional skills, but it also gives you access to other exclusive opportunities with the National Council. From a specialized summer internship program in Washington, DC, to Arabic language immersions, to expense-paid study visits to Arab countries like Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Oman, Lebanon, and Qatar, exploration of the Middle East isn’t limited to Model Arab League. Certain programs are available only to Model Arab League alumni, while others give preferential treatment to alumni in the selection process. This ensures that all participants are committed and dedicated to the study of the Arab world, and have likely interacted with National Council staff.

In addition to those opportunities, Model Arab League alumni are privy to register to attend other National Council events in Washington, DC, such as the annual Arab-U.S. Policymakers Conference, as well as other programs and outings related to the Gulf Cooperation Council, Arab and U.S. policy, and foreign affairs.

Student Leadership Development Program from the National Council on US-Arab Relations