BGSU students successful at Model European Union Simulation

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BGSU Model European Union team (left to right) Paul Garbarino, Eve Cervenka, Seth Whittemore and Andrew Burk with adviser Stefan Fritsch

Repeating previous successes, this year’s Bowling Green State University Model European Union simulation team returned from the annual conference once more with excellent results.

Winning a first prize for representing Latvia were Eve Cervenka, an International Studies major with minors in Chinese and political science from Twinsburg, Ohio, and Paul Garbarino, a political science and journalism major minoring in economics and PPEL (philosophy, politics, economics and law) from Utica, Michigan. Honorable mention went to Seth Whittemore, a pre-law major minoring in military science from Youngstown, Ohio, and Andrew Burk, a political science major with a minor in sociology from Toledo, Ohio, who represented Spain.

Organized by the University of Pittsburgh’s European Union Studies Center and hosted Feb. 16-17 by the university’s satellite campus in Bradford, Pennsylvania, the 2018 conference was dedicated to the most pressing contemporary problems facing the union of 28 states.

“What made this year’s conference so challenging was the contentious nature of its topics,” said team adviser Dr. Stefan Fritsch, associate professor of international relations in the Department of Political Science. The continuing migration crisis, the related rise of nationalism across Europe and the threat of terrorism in conjunction with uncontrolled immigration provided plenty of opportunity for, at times, heated exchanges between the delegations.

This year’s issues deeply challenged core values of the European Union, such as consensual decision-making, solidarity and burden-sharing, or the upholding of human rights while maintaining security. The discussions revealed deep-seated differences regarding the political, economic and social dimensions, dangers and opportunities of migration. Rising nationalism and the looming terror threat raised the stakes additionally as discussions also revealed fundamental differences in how countries interpreted the EU’s normative purpose and core values.

“Our students did a terrific job in remaining constructive and pragmatic throughout the negotiations,” Fritsch said.

Garbarino said that participating in the conference required him to further “broaden my perspective and knowledge about the world, practice how to collaborate with other students and find solutions to real-world contemporary problems in the simulation.”

Overall, it “was an enlightening experience that I know will help me with my career, and I look forward to doing it again,” he said.

Besides BGSU, participating student teams came from Pitt-Bradford, Pitt-Johnston and Pitt-Greensburg, the University of Buffalo and Susquehanna University.