Lodahl, O’Hara find their seats at West Coast Model EU conference

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Portland Community College returned to the West Coast Model European Union in March alongside competitors such as the University of Oregon, Claremont College and the University of British Columbia. PCC students Luke Lodahl and Teague O’Hara, who study under instructor of Political Science Robert Asaadi, faculty adviser for the team, competed in the annual event bringing together undergraduates across the U.S. and Canada in simulation of a European Council summit. Model EU is hosted by the Center for West European Studies at the University of Washington and co-funded by the European Union (EU).

From left, students Luke Lodahl and Teague O'Hara study PCC Political Science.

From left, students Luke Lodahl and Teague O’Hara study PCC Political Science.

The PCC team was one of 27 groups and represented the Kingdom of Belgium in the mock activities. Students wrote position papers and draft resolutions, delivered speeches, and participated in formal and informal debate. Asaadi said that participation in this event builds leadership skills, promotes professional development, and offers unique networking opportunities with other students and faculty from across the U.S. and Canada.

Second-year PCC student Lodahl said he felt incredibly lucky to take part in an event surrounded by like-minded students from prestigious universities who shared his passion for international relations and political science.

“It was cool to be able to apply the skills and knowledge that I have gained from previous classes, and to be in a setting that opened my eyes to the inner workings of politics and policy making,” said Lodahl, who is finishing his liberal arts transfer degree at PCC and returning home to Honolulu.

Students, in teams of two, play the roles of representatives of EU Member State delegations. The keynote address was from Admiral Brett Heimbigner (retired) on the role of North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in relation to European defense. Participants negotiated issues of concern for the EU, and this year’s summit focused on European defense, cybersecurity, border management, and EU relations with Turkey.

Like Lodahl, Teague O’Hara has been attending PCC as a political science student for two years and is soon transferring to a four-year college but chose to experience the Model EU first.

“Since I’ve always been in Portland and love the community, I’ll forever aspire to keep Portland weird,” O’Hara said. “And I thought Model EU sounded entirely unique. And compared to anything I have done in my academic career– it played into all of my strengths.”

Asaadi says this is a regular component of the political science winter term curriculum, and students interested in participating in the Winter 2025 event can email him at robert.asaadi@pcc.edu, or for more program information visit pcc.edu/programs/political-science.

About Misty Bouse

A Portland Community College public relations specialist, Misty Bouse has been working in college advancement for a decade. A graduate of University of Oregon, Misty has worked as a managing editor for BUILDERNews Magazine and as a contribu... more »