The Midwest Model European Union
Every April, more than 160 college and university students meet together in Indianapolis to decide the future of the European Union. Playing the roles of prime ministers and presidents, ambassadors and Commissioners, ministers and diplomats, they spend two days haggling over policy, resolving disputes, building compromises, and charting the course of European unity.
Created in 1993, the Midwest Model European Union (EU-Midwest) is the second oldest intercolleagiate simulation of the EU in North America. Hosted by Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI), it gives college students the chance to learn about the workings of the European Union through a hands-on simulation.
"It was one of the most intense and satisfying weekends of my college career", said one student after a recent Model EU. "It made the decision-making processes of the EU much more real to me", commented another.
"I have a lot more sympathy for the Commission now", noted one agriculture minister. "The simulation really makes you appreciate why integrating Europe has been such an achievement."
Commented faculty advisor Jonathan Olsen from the University of Wisonsin-Parkside: "The Model EU is really the high point of my various classes dealing with European politics, both for my students and for me. After participating for three years now, I don't know how I'd teach about the EU without having the Indianapolis experience".
Colleges send delegations of 7 members each, representing the 27 EU member states. Over a period of 48 hours, they meet in formal and informal sessions as the European Council, the European Commission, and several different councils of ministers.
From Thursday afternoon through Saturday afternoon, students introduce, discuss, and reach decisions on EU policy. National leaders provide overall direction, ministers huddle to work out the details of policy, Commissioners and their directors-general try to give new direction to foreign and security policy, the single market, eastward enlargement, and the development of the euro, and emergency joint meetings are held to break impasses.
While the real EU equivocates, past meetings of EU-Midwest have reformed the institutional structure of the EU, taken decisive action on foreign policy, and made major reforms to the Common Agricultural Policy.
"This was a superb learning experience which brought together everything we'd been studying in our class on European integration", commented one recent participant. "It was a real eye-opener, I'm looking forward to coming back next year."
Organization for EU-Midwest begins in January each year, when invitations are e-mailed to faculty advisers, and students begin forming delegations. There is a small participation fee ($100 per team in 2011), and the event is held at the IUPUI Campus Center, with accommodation available at the nearby University Place Hotel. Delegations take care of their own travel and food costs.
A total of 32 colleges and universities from twelve states have taken part in past simulations:
Ball State University, IN (Best Delegation, 1994, 1995, 1999, 2008, 2010)
Bradley University, IL
Butler University, IN
Clark University, MA
DePaul University, I
Depauw University, IN
Denison University, OH
Drake University, IA (Best Delegation, 2007)
Drury University, MO
Earlham College, IN
Grand Valley State University, MI
Indiana University-Bloomington, IN (Best Delegation, 2011)
Indiana University-South Bend, IN (Best Delegation, 2001, 2005)
Indiana University Southeast, IN
Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis, IN (Best Delegation, 1997, 1998, 2006)
Muskingum College, OH
Oakland University, MI (Best Delegation, 2009)
Principia College, IL (Best Delegation, 2000)
Purdue University, IN (Best Delegation, 1996)
Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, IN
Syracuse University, NY
University of Arkansas, AR
University of Indianapolis, IN
University of Missouri-Columbia, MO (Best Delegation, 2002, 2003, 2004)
University of Missouri-St Louis, MO
University of Notre Dame, IN (Best Delegation, 1993)
University of Oklahoma, OK
University of Wisconsin-Parkside, WI
US Airforce Academy, CO
Wayne State University, MI
Western Illinois University, IL
Western Michigan University, MI