Conference Participation

Students interested in presenting a paper at a conference can apply for travel funds through the Dean’s Office.

Please send an email describing your conference experience and a photo to to be included below.

Hart attends Annual Naval Academy Foreign Affairs Conference

Brian Hart and former Undersecretary of Defense Michele Flournoy.
Brian Hart and former Undersecretary of Defense Michele Flournoy.

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 attends European Student Conference

Olivia-de-FouchierOlivia 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.



Valeria Villa attends West Point Conference

Valeria-VillaI 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.


Tillinghast attends Naval Academy Leadership Conference

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.