Europe may be recovering from an economic crisis and facing political upheaval in Ukraine, but Brigham Young University's Model European Union (MEU) team earned three awards for helping Europe succeed at the 11th Annual MEU Conference, held at the University of Washington's European Union Center of Excellence, Feb. 20-21, 2015.

Five BYU students represented the policies of European member-states Italy, Poland and Latvia.

BYU's Rachel Hludzinski, a European studies major, was recognized as an Outstanding Head of Government. Jenna Jackson, an international relations major, received an Honorable Mention Award as Head of Government and an Outstanding Position Paper award.

"I enjoyed the MEU competition because of the opportunity I had to discuss a broad array of European policy areas," Hludzinski stated. "I also value the long-term dedication the MEU class demands from students in order to prepare for the competition."

Jackson, who recently returned from an LDS Mission in Lisbon, Portugal, particularly like the chance to build on her experience in Europe with the MEU simulation experience.

"I integrated policy research with my interest in the region," she said. "Europe is a fascinating area to focus on and an important area for Americans (and Latter-day Saints) to understand."

MEU simulates a European Council Summit, where students play the roles of EU member state delegations, the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the European Parliament, under the direction of the rotating Council Presidency, a position in the EU held presently by Latvia. This year's competition featured two concurrent summit negotiation sessions, one focusing on youth unemployment, discussed by heads of government, and the other addressing the common foreign and security policy within the EU, led by the Ministers of the Interior. More than a simulation, MEU also prepares students with writing skills, public speaking and negotiation strategies.

For the second consecutive year, BYU represented one of the Council Presidencies as two BYU students were chosen to chair one entire session. This selection was an honor to BYU, as the school with the most winning delegates from the previous year is chosen to serve as a presidency team the following year. This year's presidency included Raeni Sroufe and Savannah Eccles, both Political Science majors.

The five-student delegation from BYU was sponsored by the David M. Kennedy Center for International Studies and the Center for the Study of Europe / European Studies. The team was directed by Wade Jacoby, professor of political science, Cory Leonard, assistant director of the Kennedy Center, and Rebecca Wiseman, program instructor. Student representatives included Rachel Hludzinski, Jenna Jackson, Jon Collier, JJ Bebel and Corey Cherrington.

"We are pleased to continue our tradition of success," noted Nick Mason, a professor of English and the European studies coordinator. "Opportunities like this, along with internships and study abroad in Europe, are essential complements to coursework and research."

As a founding partner, BYU has participated annually and this conference brought together more than sixty undergraduate students participating from fifteen universities in the United States and Canada to understand the workings of the EU, including Scripps College, University of British Columbia, Oregon State University, University of Arizona and the University of Utah, among others.

Learn how to get involved with MEU at meu.byu.edu.