University of Lynchburg students addressed the European Green Deal, COVID-19, and other important issues at the 29th annual Mid-Atlantic European Union Simulation, held Nov. 11-13 in Arlington, Virginia.
According to Dr. Marek Payerhin, who has led the University’s delegation since 2006, Lynchburg was one of nine colleges and universities that participated in this year’s simulation. Overall, 110 students represented 19 member states of the EU, with Lynchburg representing Italy.
“Our small but feisty group represented Italy with panache,” Payerhin, an international relations professor, said. “The ministerial delegation — Hayden Dietz ’23, Emmanuel Hernandez Mellado ’23, James Melone ’24, and Caroline Waters ’22 — handled the European Green Deal legislation, seeking far-reaching and ambitious curbs on greenhouse gas emissions.”
It wasn’t lost on the group, however, that they were representing a country known for its high-end sports cars. “Still, true to their role, some had vigorously argued that if such restrictions were to be placed on our Ferraris, Lamborghinis, and Maseratis, Italy’s cultural identity would be affected!” Payerhin said.
Lynchburg’s “heads of government,” John Lucas ’23 and Sheila Raczynski ’22, debated numerous other issues important to the European Union, among them COVID-19, migration, Russia, and relations between the EU and Africa.
“The debates were lively and based closely on real EU legislative documents, highlighting the advantages of this experiential learning exercise,” Payerhin said.
Last year’s simulation was held virtually, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This year, while there were masks and other precautions, Payerhin was glad for a return to something resembling normal. “COVID measures certainly provided some challenges, though they also allowed the event to happen,” he said.
“After last year’s online version, this was the first effort to return to some normalcy by restoring the in-person format, and we are happy with how it worked out. … Our group also had a chance to meet with some University of Lynchburg alumni, [who were] veterans of previous EU simulations.”