This year I was fortunate enough to be selected by the Politics and International Affairs Department to represent Wake Forest at the 56th Annual Naval Academy Foreign Affairs Conference that took place in April 2016. In celebration of the 40th anniversary of accepting women to the Naval Academy, the topic of this year’s conference was “Women and Security: The Implications of Promoting Global Gender Equality.” At the four-day conference, I got to hear from an amazing list of speakers – mostly women – who have had enormous influence in global politics. The speakers included Melanne Verveer, the first Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues; Michele Flournoy, former Undersecretary of Defense; and Samantha Power, the current U.S. Ambassador to the United Nation. I was lucky enough to get the chance to speak personally with both Ambassador Verveer and Michele Flournoy, both of whom had brilliant insights into the future of U.S. foreign policy and U.S.-China relations.
In addition to hearing from many great panelists and speakers, I also spent time on a small roundtable group that focused on gender inequality and related issues in China. We discussed the absence of women at the top of China’s political leadership, and the many problems that Chinese women still face in the workplace and in society. For me, the biggest takeaway of the conference was getting to better understand civil-military relations. About half of the delegates were from the naval academy and various other military academies around the world. It was eye-opening to see the differences in how civilians and people in the military perceive security issues differently.
It was an incredible experience, and I’d like to thank the entire department for giving me the opportunity to attend this amazing conference!
Olivia de Fouchier attended the European Student Conference 2016 “Envisioning a Confident Europe” at Yale University. The approximately 100 students were divided into five policy workshops and for the first time ever, a competition entrepreneurship group of which she was a participant. They discussed ideas for innovative business ventures which strive to integrate admitted immigrants into European economies and societies.
Her project, “E-U. Bridge the Gap”, a teaching program that offers a mutually beneficial exchange of language skills and career guidance between immigrants, students and senior citizens, was a finalist in the competition. The students’ efforts were assisted by E-U. representatives who, in addition to advising us on projects, gave speeches about the current state of the E-U. These included EU Ambassador to the U.S. David O’Sullivan, EU Ambassador to the UN Joao Vale de Almeida, Secretary General of the Parliament Klaus Well and Vice-President of the EU Commission Kristalina Georgieva.
Juliet Beckstrand will present her paper “Immigration Nations: Migration Crises in America and the European Union” at the Pi Sigma Alpha National Honor Student Conference at George Washington University,February 12-14
I was afforded the opportunity of representing Wake Forest University’s Politics and International Affairs department at the 67th annual Student Conference on United States Affairs hosted by West Point Military Academy in November 2015. I encountered students and scholars from all over the world with various academic backgrounds to create dialogue between civilians and military personnel from different branches. The topic this year was”Confronting Inequality: Wealth, Rights and Power.”
The delegates were separated into different sub-topics related to the subject of inequality and my round table discussion focused on the issue of free trade in light of the recently approved Transpacific Partnership (TPP). We presented a paper which exposed the various ways in which the TPP closed some forms of inequality while expanding others. We demonstrated our research to all the attending delegates in a final skit which included comedic interpretative dance. In addition to the round table discussions, I got the chance to see first Madam Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright speak on the issue of inequality. It was an incredibly eye-opening, academically enriching, and personally-rewarding experience that I will remember fondly for years to come.
This past January I had the opportunity to represent Wake Forest University at the 2015 United States Naval Academy Leadership Conference in Annapolis, Maryland. The mission of the conference is to address specific issues facing emerging leaders in both the military and civilian world by breeding understanding and identifying successful themes to overcome such obstacles. The four day conference was a mixture of panel discussions, small breakout groups, and informal dialogues amongst conference attendees. The participants ranged from ROTC cadets and Naval Academy midshipmen to civilian university students and professors which permitted very productive conversations on how to address ethical issues in the information age. The speakers ranged from Pat Finn, Cisco’s U.S. public sector vice president, to General Stanley McChrystal, former commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan; the diversity of life experiences which each speaker brought to the conference was matched by those of the participants in the conference having the effect of breeding a productive and friendly environment for discussion. My resounding takeaway from the conference was the high degree of similarity which characterizes successful and ethical leadership regardless of context. Overall the conference was very inspiring for me personally and I am honored to have had the opportunity to represent Wake Forest University and the Department of Politics and International Affairs.
This past November, I represented Wake Forest at the 66th Annual Student Conference on U.S. Policy held at West Point Military Academy. Students from all over the world attend the conference each year to facilitate collaboration between civilian student delegates and West Point cadets. The task of this year’s conference was to determine “What’s the Worst that Could Happen” in terms of international crises and develop foreign policy suggestions advising the United States how to respond. Each day, we engaged in round table discussions focused on a specific type of international crisis. My round table topic was ‘Constitutions and Coup D’etats’ and at the end of the weekend we presented a paper about our research. In addition to the round table discussions, we attended panel lectures and listened to an address by the key note speaker Thomas Pickering. Working and living with the West Point cadets for the duration of the conference was an awesome experience and I am very grateful I had the opportunity to attend.
In March, I attended the 7th Annual Clinton Global Initiative-University meeting in Phoenix, Arizona. The annual meeting, which was hosted by President Clinton, Secretary Clinton, and Chelsea Clinton brought together more than 1000 innovative student leaders from all over the world. In addition to the Clinton family, I was able to hear and interact with other speakers such as Jimmy Kimmel; Senator John McCain; Jimmy Wales, Founder of Wikipedia; Premal Shah, President of Kiva; Maria Elena Salina, Anchor of Univision News and many others. During the meeting, I was also recognized on stage for my Commitment to Action, Somali Diaspora Corps, by Lauryn Williams, a 3 time American Olympic Medalist.
In April, I had the pleasure of attending the 4th annual ACC Meetings of the Minds hosted at the University of Pittsburgh. The undergraduate conference brings together 8-10 students from each school in the ACC to present their academic research. As one of Wake Forest’s representatives, I had the opportunity to showcase my Richter research on the geopolitical “great game” Russia and the United States have played over oil and natural gas reserves in the Caspian Sea Basin.
Over a two day period, I enjoyed meeting with other student-researchers and learning about their compelling work. The projects covered a wide range of subjects, from history and linguistics to the hard sciences. At night, we were fortunate to hear from several distinguished speakers and visit the Andy Warhol Museum in Downtown Pittsburg. By the end of the experience, I found myself impressed by the work of my peers and the ACC’s continued commitment to undergraduate research.
I’m a big believer that student’s should engage in undergraduate research during their time in school. Going forward, I’m excited to see the future iterations of the ACC Meeting of the Minds and I strongly encourage students of the Department of Politics and International Affairs to take part in this fantastic program.
My experience as a Presidential Fellow with the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress was extremely eye opening and rewarding for me. The Center, a Washington, D.C. based non-profit research and education organization, encourages current political leaders to make informed and effective policy decisions irrespective of partisan associations. My experiences with both the speakers in the Fall and Spring conferences and with the 70+ fellows gave me hope that our political future can reflect the ideals of the Center. The intelligence, passion, inquisitiveness, and kindness of my peer fellows were the highlights of both conferences with the CSPC.
In addition to the wonderful speakers during the conference (including Senators Susan Rice and Joe Manchin) the CSPC introduced fellows to the process of workshopping papers for publication and provided each fellow with a mentor who was knowledgeable of that fellow’s paper topic. My topic–Congressional amelioration or complication of jurisdictional questions in “Indian Country”–became increasingly interesting as my mentors and conference small group challenged me to expand my analysis and ask deeper questions. Through my experiences, I have made meaningful connections, gained a deeper understanding of the workings of the federal government, and heard the many perspectives of a diverse and insightful group of future leaders. I will take wonderful memories from my time in the Nation’s capital and at the CSPC. Thank you to the Department of Politics and International Affairs for granting me this opportunity!
I attended the 54th Annual Naval Academy Foreign Affairs conference in April. The theme of this year’s conference was “Human Security in the Information Age,” so we listened to panels about “The Dark Side of the Information Age,” with speakers like the president of the International Center for Missing and Exploited Children. That was horrifying – there are truly awful things happening on the internet and I had no idea! There was also a panel called “Political Action in the Information Age,” with the Estonian Ambassador to the US and a managing editor from the Wall Street Journal. We got to hear incredible speakers, including Former President Bill Clinton, and former director of NSA, Michael Hayden. In my roundtable, which was called “The Fading Line Between Man and Machine,” we talked about the latest technology in robotics, and 3D printing, and what these mean for the future of the human race. We talked about technology in warfare and manufacturing, and the ethical dilemmas that are associated with the new technologies. The conference really stresses International Affairs – so many students from other countries were attending. In my roundtable, there were students from South Korea, Poland, the Dominican Republic, Japan. In other roundtables, students represented Italy, the UK, and Mexico. Overall, I had a really great time and met a lot of great people! So thanks to the Department for sending me!