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Intellect

BYU Model European Union team shines at national competition

Brigham Young University’s Model European Union (MEU) team earned four awards at the 10th Annual MEU conference held at the University of Washington’s European Union Center of Excellence, Feb. 7-8, 2014.

The conference provided a setting for approximately 50 undergraduate students participating from 15 universities in the U.S. and Canada to understand the workings of the European Union.

“It’s an opportunity to learn about an organization that impacts millions of lives and is a power player in global politics,” said BYU political science student Michael Voyles.

BYU’s Neil Longo was recognized as an Outstanding Head of Government, and Eliza Campbell as an Outstanding Minister of the Interior.

“I've rarely had such a great experience to turn my critical thinking skills into something that is actually useful and challenges me,” Campbell said. “We all have political thoughts, no matter what we study, but it seems like most people waste them on Facebook. Model EU is one way to use your opinions and way of thinking to create something and to solve problems.”

The team also secured two honorable mention awards from Savannah Eccles and Voyles, both of whom competed on the refugee and migration committee.

BYU’s award-winning team also included Cody Olive, Seth Trader and Raeni Sroufe.

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 Greece. This year’s competition featured two concurrent summit negotiation sessions, one focusing on the creation of a banking union, discussed by heads of government, and the other addressing the reform of the EU’s migration and refugee policy, led by the Ministers of the Interior.

“The competition moves fast,” Sroufe said. “You have to make your voice heard, and pack a punch in a quick timeframe.”

Although it was a simulation, students on the team noted how applicable the MEU experience was.

“My favorite parts were the camaraderie we developed among our team, seeing the different negotiating styles of people in the informal debate and seeing firsthand what it is like to be an EU Head of Government,” Olive said. 

Unique to this year’s competition was the opportunity BYU had to represent one of the Council Presidencies, meaning two BYU students were chosen to chair the banking union 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 Rebecca Wiseman, a political science major, and Romy Franks, a European studies and German studies double major. It was Franks’ third year participating with the MEU program.

“My involvement in MEU has been a defining characteristic of my undergraduate experience,” Franks said. “It is a privilege to contribute to a growing tradition of excellence, and I believe the students’ smashing success speaks highly of our collective effort to continually expand and improve the program each year.”

The nine-student delegation from BYU was sponsored by the Center for the Study of Europe (CSE) and the David M. Kennedy Center for International Studies. The team was directed by Wade Jacoby, professor of political science and faculty director of CSE, and co-advisor Lora Anderson Cook, administrative director of CSE.
 
“I’ve rarely heard such high praise for our overall delegation,” Jacoby said. “Our students should feel great about their preparation and performance.”

For more information, contact Lora Cook, (801) 422-6277, lora.cook@byu.edu.

Writer: Lee Simons

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