Saturday, February 28, 2004

Mideast politics enliven Miami

By Jon Gambrell
Enquirer contributor

OXFORD - As the occupation of Iraq continues, the Iraqi people are trying to find their voice.

But on the campus of Miami University, the country has a voice in University of Cincinnati senior David Reed as he argues with a nearby "delegate" from Tunisia.

It's all part of the Model Arab League, sponsored by the National Council on Arab-U.S. Relations, to give students an opportunity to learn more about the Mideast.

"I'm just salivating to get to the next section," says Reed, a 23-year-old political-science major. He has proposed legislation to strike Article VIII of the council's charter, which is a promise not to meddle in a country's regime change.

With 10 university-level summits, a national competition and a high school program, the Model Arab League helps students break down stereotypes of the Middle East, said Miami grad Shawn Romer of the national council.

"This is ... not just reading out of a textbook and listening to a lecture," Romer said. "Once you learn their reasoning, (their actions) start to make sense."

Nearly 130 students from seven universities have been arguing politics since Wednesday. The summit ends today.

Debates are fast and fluid, the tables covered in empty coffee cups, laptop computers and stacks of resolutions. After researching their assigned country, students create a plan of action, behaving and voting as their countrymen would.

Miami senior Dan Wilberding, representing Libya, says leader Moammar Gadhafi's recent overtures to the United States put the country in a unique position.

"As we represent Libya, we have to walk a careful balance of having an independent voice of Arab nations and alienating the West," he said.

Reed approached Wilberding during a lull in a session, pitching his legislation.

Libya was non-committal.


Legislation protects tracks
Miami U. raises tuition 8.5%
Parents' plea: Lock up your guns
Poll: Economy is No. 1 issue
Judge says city must pay lawyers $550,000

Tax issue divides rivals in GOP's Senate contest
Bike trail gets go-ahead
Mideast politics enliven Miami
War memories for all to see on Heroes site
Retaking a neighborhood
How to get started as a patrol
Work on Deerfield Twp. housing for seniors begins
Candidate's wife finds support
Make a racket and run from danger, kids told
Reading High student dies in crash on I-71
Miami campus marks role in civil rights movement
Undercover team tracks gun sales
Haitian youth's dances help orphanages at home
Cops arrest Ch. 9 reporter; sex with minors charged
3 clash in GOP fight for House
Neighbors briefs
Cops pass hat for diploma
Enjoy weekend, because March can play tricks

Hofmeister: Rybolt signal needs to let more cars pass
Faith Matters: Church programs to look deeper at season of Lent
National award recognizes firm

Sr. Beverly McGuire, was college dean
Jim Murphy started city's Irish parade

Davis, Murphy get down, dirty
Phone talk pays at NKU
Cost of service strains cities
They need stomps for romps
N. Ky. News Briefs