PCC students make history by joining West Coast Model European Union
Photos and Story by Misty Bouse
For the first time, Portland Community College was represented at the West Coast Model European Union this month by students Norie Ushijima and Matt Albertson. The annual event brings together undergraduate students from across the United States and Canada in simulation of a European Council summit and is hosted by the Center for West European Studies at the University of Washington in Seattle.
PCC was the only community college participating in this year’s event alongside UC Berkeley, University of Oregon and the University of British Columbia to name a few competitors.
The PCC students competed by writing position papers and draft resolutions, delivering speeches, and participating in formal and informal debate. They did an excellent job according to instructor Robert Asaadi (Political Science), who was the faculty adviser for the team. The students were both award nominees: Ushijima for “Outstanding Interior Minister” and Albertson for “Outstanding Head of Government.”
“The Model EU provides interested students with the opportunity to practice the skill of understanding policy positions and coming together to overcome differences through respectful, diplomatic negotiation. The other attendees came from political backgrounds and apolitical backgrounds, from Berkeley to our humble PCC; the connections we made there have the potential to grow throughout our careers, ” said Albertson, who plans to transfer to Portland State University to study political science, and eventually attend law school or graduate school.
There were 52 total students, in teams of two, who played the roles of representatives of European Union Member State delegations. Model EU participants negotiate issues of concern for the European Union, and this year the summit focused on issues related to European defense strategy, energy resilience, refugee solidarity, and humanitarian aid. Event participation not only teaches students about the EU, but builds leadership skills, promotes professional development, and offers unique networking opportunities with other students and faculty from across the United States and Canada according to Asaadi.
He plans to make this a regular component of the political science winter term curriculum going forward, and students interested in participating in the Winter 2024 event can contact him for more information.