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Sixteen members of the International Affairs Club will travel to Washington, D.C., in November for the European Union (EU) Simulation sponsored by the European American Institute.

The experience will include a teleconference with European Union parliamentarians. The topic of this year’s simulation is “Defense, Security, Rapid Deployment Force,” covering creation of the joint EU army.

Representing Greece in this year’s simulation, the Lafayette team will be drawn from a pool of 25 students who signed up to participate. Students will be chosen Sunday for 16 positions — minister of foreign affairs, minister of defense, and parliamentarians – and two alternate spots.

They will be led by Michael Lestingi ’04, a mechanical engineering major from Tallmadge, Ohio, who will join fellow commissioners from participating schools in Scranton, Pa. prior to the simulation to pass a draft resolution. Lestingi is secretary of the International Affairs Club. Advising the team is Rado Pribic, Oliver Edwin Williams Professor of Languages and chair of the International Affairs program.

The International Affairs Club held its first lecture-meeting yesterday. Among other topics, members learned about Greece’s geography, political structure, major industries, relationship with Turkey, and standing in the EU and United Nations.

“Since we are one of the few schools — if not the only one — who are doing it as a club and we don’t have a specific class that is dedicated totally to the EU, we have to educate ourselves about the EU (its political structure, history, etc.),” says Michael Kotov ’03, vice president of the International Affairs Club.

The EU simulation will attend mandatory hour-long meetings of the International Affairs Club every Tuesday to prepare. Lestingi has been hired by the international affairs program at Lafayette to conduct research and make presentations at each meeting. Guests also will be brought in to provide more detailed information.

The Lafayette contingent will leave Wednesday, Nov. 28, for its accommodations in Georgetown, returning Saturday, Dec. 1. On Thursday morning, the group will take in a briefing at the Greek embassy, followed by an EU teleconference with officials in Brussels. Most of the remaining time will be spent caucusing to come up with the final draft of the resolution and pass it. Various briefings, sessions, and official dinners with political speakers from the European embassies and U.S. government also are scheduled.

“From my past participation, I can say that this program lets you experience everything first hand (i.e. caucusing),” says Kotov. “Even though it is just a simulation, it is very close to the real process. Also, it makes students aware of what is going on in Europe and how the EU is being formed.”

Categorized in: Academic News