SJU Students Hold Presidency at Model European Union in D.C.
Friday, January 15, 2010
PHILADELPHIA (January 15, 2010)—A team of 16 SJU students led the most recent proceedings of the Mid-Atlantic European Union (EU) Simulation Consortium held in Washington, D.C., in November. The Consortium consists of 12 colleges and universities that offer an upper-level political science course entailing semester-long study of the EU through the lens of one of its member nations. The SJU team was chosen to represent Sweden, which held the EU Presidency. Each student portrayed a member of the Swedish government who also acts as representative to the EU.
“I was very proud of our students,” said Lisa Baglione, Ph.D., chair and professor of political science, who taught the course. “As President of the EU, they chaired the meetings of the General Affairs (Foreign Ministers), EcoFin (Economics and Finance Ministers) and European (Prime Ministers) Council meetings. From among approximately 200 student participants, they were essential players in the legislative process.”
Baglione and the students spent the weekend before Thanksgiving in Washington, arriving on Thursday to visit the Swedish Embassy for a briefing on the issues surrounding the legislation being developed. For the next three days, the students participated in EU activities, sometimes working into the night to create consensus around controversial issues.
“The major topic was a directive on Russia [currently not an EU member] regarding human rights in the North Caucasus as well as human trafficking in Europe,” said Baglione. “The other topic was energy and the proposed Nabucco natural gas pipeline.”
Jason Reinbold, a junior political science major from Andover, N.J., received an honorable mention for his skill as a parliamentarian. Reinbold was on the foreign affairs committee, portraying moderate Member of Parliament (MEP) Gunnar Hökmark.
“My alter ego, Hökmark, would not have approved of the policy that was presented, so I drafted my own version and debated with the other MEPs until the majority was convinced that my draft should carry,” said Reinbold. “It required strategizing and cross-party alliances to gain votes, but in the end my draft changed the direction of the simulation.”
Tess Plummer, a junior English major and faith-justice minor from Dublin, Pa., was elected Vice Chair of the international trade committee, and now has an interest in a career in politics. “I got to see how gritty the political process can be,” said Plummer. “Both the class and the leadership experience at Model EU made me realize how much I like politics.”
Other students who took leadership roles were senior political science/international relations major Alexandra Muolo from Selinsgrove, Pa., as Prime Minister of the European Council; junior political science major Robert Bernardo from Sicklerville, N.J., as Foreign Minister of the General Affairs Council; junior political science major Breannne Moulton from Redmond, Wash., as Finance Minister of the Economics and Finance Council; junior international relations major Miguel Menez from Manila, Philippines, as Rapporteur (recording secretary) for the Foreign Affairs Committee Greens; and junior political science/philosophy major Jennifer Kedzierski of St. Louis, Mo., as Vice Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee.
Background: Founded by the Society of Jesus in 1851, Saint Joseph's University advances the professional and personal ambitions of men and women by providing a demanding, yet supportive, educational experience. One of only 139 schools with a Phi Beta Kappa chapter and AACSB business school accreditation, Saint Joseph's is home to 4,200 full-time undergraduates and 3,100 graduate, part-time and doctoral students. Steeped in the 450-year Jesuit tradition of scholarship and service, Saint Joseph's was named to the 2008 President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll for General Community Service. The University strives to be recognized as the preeminent Catholic comprehensive university in the Northeast.