World Affairs Council Education Program Alumni Newsletter, Winter 2013


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World Affairs Council Education Program Alumni Newsletter, Winter 2013

  1. 1. K Education Program Alumni Newsletter Volume 1, Issue 1 World Affairs Council of Northern California Winter 2013 The Education Program of the World Affairs Council seeks to inform, educate and inspire the next generation of global leaders. For over 60 years, the Education Program has provided students with a variety of opportunities and resources to broaden their knowledge of international affairs. These students are a treasured part of the Council community. Summer Institute 2013 Alumni Reunion Twenty-one students from across Northern California took part in this year’s Summer Institute. During the course of eight weeks, they discussed topics as varied as climate change, Iran’s new leader, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, unrest in Turkey and the ever-changing Middle East. On August 7, the World Affairs Council hosted its first Alumni Reunion. Attended by over 60 alumni, current students and staff, the event was a great success! Students came to the Council to reconnect with old friends and make new ones. The event also marked the last day of the Summer Institute, which was a great way for our newest alumni to connect with and meet their Council community. Students who had not seen each other for years reconnected and caught up on life, college and potential career plans. Alumni spanned from 2006 to the Summer Institute participants who had just finished up that day. For those unfamiliar with the Summer Institute, each meeting focuses on a specific topic of international importance. After doing an educational and interactive activity, the students will meet with the evening’s speaker and attend the Council program. One of our favorite speakers this summer was Jeff Collins, senior counsel at Chevron, who told us about his life around the world in the Foreign Service and what it was like to work in the White House for President Obama. The students enjoyed meeting Mr. Collins so much that he returned to serve as a mentor for this year’s International Career Mentor Night. (continued on next page) “As an alumna, I was ecstatic to catch up with old friends, meet students from other programs and find out where Education Program alumni end up. Being part of the Education Program is not only about completing a program, but also how you translate the experience into the rest of your life.” -Monica Floyd, American University The evening featured a reception, raffle and a keynote address from one our distinguished alumni, Dr. Sophal Ear. During his talk, Dr. Ear, who attended the Asilomar Conference in 1994 and 1996, spoke about his experience escaping Cambodia as a child and how the World Affairs Council helped shape his professional career. IN THIS ISSUE Summer Institute Alumni Reunion Class Notes Ways to Connect Student Ambassador Program (continued on next page) 1
  2. 2. Alumni Reunion continued… A common theme throughout his presentation was receiving help from good Samaritans. Whether it was the kind strangers who aided his family en route to Vietnam or the upperclassmen at Berkeley High who helped him choose the best English class, Dr. Ear highlighted the ripple effect that the kindness of others can create and suggested we look inward to see how we can also act as good Samaritans. The event created a great buzz among our alumni community who are now looking to stay even more connected to the Council and participate in other alumni initiatives. Mark your calendars! Next year’s alumni reunion is scheduled to take place on Thursday, August 7. From left to right, (1) Nina Krishnan and Supriya Yelimeli of Mission San Jose High School catch up with one another (2) Former Education Program Officer Michelle Capobres and Yuki Jiang (UC Berkeley) reconnect (3) Recent alumni Shireen Ahsan of Gunn High School and Diana Jauregui of Oakland Unity High School meet with Dr. Sophal Ear Summer Institute continued… Additionally, Abbas Milani, Professor at Stanford University, shed light on the complexities and nuances of life in Iran, even recommending some Iranian musicians for the students to listen to. One of the timeliest sessions we had was on the Arab Spring. When the Education Program Officer began to prepare the reading packet for students, Egypt was led by Mohmmed Morsi; however, Morsi had been deposed by the time the students met. Being able to discuss and dissect an issue as it unfolded was beneficial as students updated each other on the various news sources they follow and sought to understand this complex transition together. “The Summer Institute truly engaged me as a young mind, and changed my perception on foreign policy. I will forever be a World Affairs Council member. Thank you for your dedication and confidence towards the next generation of intellectuals. Mohammed Syed, California HS Summer Institute students with Michael Brune, Executive Director of the Sierra Club 2
  3. 3. Class Notes Here is a glimpse at the many exciting things Education Program alumni are accomplishing: Michael McFaul (Asilomar 1980s) is the current US ambassador to the Russian Federation. Shibley Telhami (Asilomar 1980s) is the Anwar Sadat Professor for Peace and Development at the University of Maryland, College Park, and non-resident senior fellow at the Saban Center at the Brookings Institution. His recently published book “The World through Arab Eyes” focuses on the changing self-perception and identity of people in the Arab world. Sophal Ear (Asilomar 94, 98) is an assistant professor at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, CA. He recently published the book “Aid Dependence in Cambodia: How Foreign Assistance Undermines Democracy.” Alex Park (YFU 06) is an editorial fellow at Mother Jones Magazine. His interests and research focus on American involvement in African agriculture. He also served as a mentor for this year’s International Career Mentor Night. Olivia Wong (YFU 08) visited the Za'atari Refugee Camp at the Syrian/Jordanian border to deliver pre-fabricated housing to Syrian refugees. She is currently serving as an AmeriCorps VISTA in San Diego. She is the director of development at Youth and Leaders Living Actively (YALLA) San Diego, Inc. YALLA uses soccer and academics to motivate child survivors of war and refugee youth to achieve a college education. Michael Farzi (SI 08, WA 10, INT 12) is studying global public health at Manipal University in Southern India this semester. Michael’s focus is the efficacy of national health programs for maternal and child health through interviews of mothers and pregnant women. He intends to make it a comparative study with the health services offered in France (where he will be studying next semester). Monica Floyd (AMB 10-11, YFU 10, INT13) is studying abroad this semester at the National Chengchi University in Taiwan. Next semester she plans to travel to Thailand and teach English. Adrienne Ou (AMB 11-12, WA12) received the Wolfenstein Prize for her work in political theory. She is a sophomore at UCLA, majoring in political science and classical civilization with a minor in global studies. Jean Fan (AMB 11- 12, WA 12, AMB 12-13, WA 13) is the community manager at UnCollege. She is taking a gap year before starting at Stanford University next fall. Michael Montafi (INT 12) is a Peace Corps volunteer in Tovuz, Azerbaijan. Nina Sawhney (INT 12-13) is studying for her master’s of public administration degree at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs. She is concentrating on economic and political development. KEY Asilomar- Asilomar Conference • INT- Intern • SA- Student Ambassador Program • SI- Summer Institute •WAWorldAffairs Conference • YFU- Youth For Understanding Study Abroad Scholarship Melina Dunham (WA 12) is taking a gap year before she begins at Barnard College. During the summer and fall she learned German in Berlin and traveled around Europe. Melina is currently interning at the Berkeley Center for Human Rights. 3
  4. 4. Daniela Leyva (WA 12) is a Panetta Institute Congressional intern in Washington, DC this semester. Jessica Weiss (AMB 12-13, WA 13, SI 13) is a senior at Lowell High School. She founded Based News to translate the top stories to a new medium that is engaging, entertaining and enlightening to young people. Adela Jones (AMB 12-13, WA 13) is currently a junior at USC, where she is majoring in human security. She completed a Fulbright Scholarship at the University of Bristol this past summer as a part of the US-UK Fulbright Summer Institute Programme. In addition to her studies, Adela rows for Southern California on the Varsity Novice Rowing Team, serves on the International Relations Undergraduate Relations Executive Board and founded the USC Roosevelt Institute Campus Chapter and Model Arab League Team. Magdalena Fitipaldi‘s (WA 13) photograph “Pray” was featured in the World Affairs Council Annual Juried Art Show, Global Visions. Another of her photos was also accepted into the Council’s Friends and Family Photography exhibition which will open on December 4. Want to be included in the next issue of the alumni newsletter? Submit your updates to Connect with the Education Program Student Ambassador Updates There are many ways to keep in touch with the Council. We hope you will connect with us on social media! @WACSFEducation World Affairs Council of Northern California 4 The 2013-2014 Student Ambassador Program is comprised of 22 members who hail from all over the Bay Area, making this group of Ambassadors a dynamic and interesting mix of people. All of our meetings focus around current issues and topics including international security, education, human rights and nuclear proliferation. The students have just started their global issue projects in which they research a problem of global importance and involve their local communities in action. They will work on these projects over the course of the school year. We are excited to see how these initiatives develop! Look for more information in our next issue.