In late March 2023, a team of students from the University of Notre Dame traveled to Indiana University Bloomington to take part in the Midwest Model European Union (MMEU). The MMEU is facilitated by IU Bloomington’s Institute for European Studies, part of the Hamilton Lugar School of Global and International Studies, and has been meeting since the 1990s. This was the third year that Notre Dame Students participated in this simulated international summit.
The Nanovic Institute for European Studies facilitates Notre Dame’s participation in MMEU. Advised by Student Programs Assistant Director Anna Dolezal, students spent the first half of the spring semester learning about the policy-making process of the EU and drafting their policy proposals to be debated at the simulation. Representing France and Sweden, the Notre Dame teams placed third and second. Five individual Notre Dame students were also recognized for outstanding work in specific committees.
Read firsthand accounts from two members of the Notre Dame delegation below.
How an educational trip to Southern Indiana became one of my favorite Notre Dame memories
By Demetrios Fotopoulos ’25
The Midwest Model European Union (MMEU) competition at Indiana University Bloomington was a powerfully educational, fun experience. My experience started when I transferred into the class “Model European Union.” I had an opening and saw that the class was being taught by Anna Dolezal, my excellent advisor on my European Studies minor through the Nanovic Institute.
When I enrolled in the course, I did not yet realize the value of the class trip for MMEU. Our class learned about European Union procedures and prepped for the conference. We practiced diplomacy techniques in mock simulations and shared our draft directives for peer review. Moreover, our class of fifteen became close friends.
On our way to the summit, the three-hour bus drive was filled with chatter, jokes, games, and blooming friendships. In Bloomington, our class ate together, adventured around IU’s campus, and watched a local improv troupe — much to my excitement, as a member of Notre Dame’s Humor Artists improv troupe. Our class represented the delegations of Sweden and France. I was the Swedish delegate and chair of the Justice and Home Affairs committee. I was nervous at first but grew to the task and learned to effectively chair a meeting so that the other delegates in the room felt empowered to voice their opinions. By the end of the conference, our committee had passed more directives than any other group.
Even on the bus journey home, I could not wait for next year’s MMEU conference. I was excited about the future directives I would write, the opportunity to pull more people into the experience, and the time spent with my newfound model European Union friend group. I loved the experience and the friendships I made. All in all, the experience will stand as one of my favorite memories at Notre Dame.
Learning and leadership in Model European Union
By Anne Rehill ’24
If you had asked me in the fall of 2021 what I thought of when I heard the word “Sweden,” I would have said the band that sings “Dancing Queen.” Two years later, after the experience of representing Sweden at the Midwest Model EU, I am not only better versed in ABBA's discography but also in the European Union’s many institutions and how they work together to make domestic and international policy.
I first participated in Model EU during my sophomore year–determined, as a political science major, to understand more about world politics outside of the United States. It was difficult to learn the nuances of the EU, such as the difference between the European Council and the Council of the European Union, or which countries were in the EU, Schengen Area, both, or neither. Yet, after my first year on the Irish delegation, I knew I wanted to return.
This past year, I served as the Swedish minister and, concurrently, the chairperson of the environmental committee. To prepare for our trip to the simulation in Bloomington, we each wrote “draft directives,” or policy proposals relevant to the committee that we would be roleplaying in, and familiarized ourselves with Sweden's positions on a variety of issues. After writing about foreign direct investment in African Union solar companies for the foreign affairs committee during my sophomore year, I decided to transition into the environment committee my junior year to advocate for an independent green energy supply.
Our hard work paid off: we earned the award for second-best delegation overall. As chair, I was certainly faced with some chaotic moments, like when I tried to maintain civility during disagreements over nuclear power plants, but our committee ultimately cooperated to pass seven directives. I am grateful to the simulation and my co-delegates for the invaluable leadership experience, the class for opening my eyes to the role that the EU plays in the world, and to the Nanovic Institute for making this opportunity possible.