WMU junior wins top prize at European Union simulation
May 4, 2006
KALAMAZOO--Western Michigan University's first-ever team to participate in a competition and simulation promoting understanding of the European Union returned with one of eight top prizes awarded at the event.
WMU's seven-member team took part in MMEU--Midwest Model European Union--last month in Indianapolis. Held annually at the campus of Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis, the simulation is one of the largest and most prestigious of its kind in the United States. About 160 students on 23 teams from 13 universities from as far away as Arkansas and Wisconsin attended.
Eric Bakken of Stevens Pointe, Wis., a WMU junior in the international and comparative concentration in the political science major, won the top award for best delegate, playing the role of Slovakian secretary of agriculture in the EU's Council of Agriculture Ministers.
Founded in 1993, the Midwest EU event is one of four of its kind in the United States. It is designed to help college and university students learn about the workings of the European Union through hands-on simulation. Colleges send delegations of seven members, representing as many as possible of the 25 EU member states. Over 48 hours, they meet in formal and informal sessions as the European Council, the European Commission and several different councils of ministers.
WMU's delegation represented the nation of Slovakia. In addition to Bakken, the team was composed of Ana Cornielis, Rachael Elias, Eric Marx, Delal Pektas, Robert Reichner and Richard Thelen, all majors in political science and students in a class on the European Union taught this spring by Dr. Gunther Hega, WMU associate professor of political science, who also served as faculty advisor to the students. The team's participation was funded by a Jean-Monnet-Action grant in the amount of 12,000 euro awarded to Hega by the European Commission in Brussels to support his teaching and research on the EU.
The WMU team as a whole performed well at the event. Hega said that for a first-time participant, WMU's team had a tough assignment, but members worked well together and represented both Slovakia and Western Michigan University very well. As a result, the team was invited to return to the simulation next year.
The students competed successfully with veteran teams from Indiana University Bloomington, the universities of Arkansas, Missouri-St. Louis and Wisconsin-Parkside, as well as schools like Ball State University, DePauw University, Oakland University and the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology.
Media contact: Mark Schwerin, (269) 387-8400, firstname.lastname@example.org