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    Connections Newsletter
    Issue 2                                                                                                                                         Spring Semester 2012


    Notes from the Collaborative

    A Note from the Collaborative Director

    Collaborative Opportunities

    Research & Academic Travel Funding Opportunities

    Collaborative Research Showcase

    2011 Summer-Fall Collaborative Grants Awards

    Snapshot of Summer-Fall Collaborative Grants

    Student-Faculty Development Endowment Fund Award Recipients

    McNair Scholars Presentations

    Student Profiles

    United Nations New York Trip

    Sponsor: Dr. Gratzia Villarroel

    VanSchyndel & Hill-Soderlund


    Important Dates

    Mar. 19, 2012 Collaborative Summer-Fall Grant applications due

    Mar. 29-31, 2012 National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR)

    Apr. 20, 2012 Collaborative Continuation Grant applications due

    May 4, 2012 Student Academic Travel Grant and Attendee Grant applications due




    United Nations New York Trip

    Reflection by attendee Mariah Lieser, '15 International Studies & Political Science

    Education is said to be the foundation necessary to receive a good job. This is true to an extent; however, I believe the ways in which you apply your education are more valuable. Education means nothing without application. My parents have instilled in me the importance of participating in various activities to further my understanding of different subjects. With this strong foundation I found it impossible to pass up the UN Study Tour Trip. As a Freshman I have embarked on my journey to become well versed in the field of International Studies. I thought this trip would aid in my understanding of world relations in addition to giving me the opportunity to meet President Ahmadinejad and witness the dialogue between him and my peers.Mariah

    During the three day trip we had a full schedule of events. We attended a talk at Colombia University. The guest speaker was a survivor of the Rwandan Genocide. She talked about her efforts after the genocide to keep her deal with God; in exchange for life she agreed to aid the orphans of the genocide. We were also exposed to Rwandan culture through dance and traditional food. In comparison to American culture, the Rwandan culture focuses more on praise and excitement for life. Something that is oftentimes taken for granted here in the United States.

    The next morning we had a private session with author Benjamin Barber on his views of the Arab Spring. What I found interesting from this discussion was that the nations that will be the most successful in achieving democracy are those that had started to make reforms prior to these uprisings. Surprisingly, Libya was one of those nations that had started to make reforms with the help of Gadhafi’s son prior to the conflict. Unfortunately, all efforts halted when, following Libyan custom, Gadhafi’s son chose allegiance to his family over his country.

    In the afternoon we were given the opportunity to listen to four dissidents from Cuba, North Korea, Tibet, and Burma share their harrowing stories about the persecution they experienced in their native lands. Their strength was inspiring. They were willing to speak out against their governments and risk their lives; in order to better the lives of millions back in their countries. In particular, the woman from North Korea was courageous for continuing to speak out against Kim Jung Il, despite the death threats she has received.      

    The highlight of the second day was the dinner hosted by the Iranian Mission to the UN, and the question and answer session that followed with President Ahmadinejad. Though his position in the international community is controversial, there were many lessons learned through this dialogue.  The main idea I took away from this was the importance of carrying on a dialogue, even if you disagree with what is being said. This is true for two reasons. First, you should learn why it is you disagree and second you may choose to change your stance once presented with an alternative point of view. Narrow-mindedness makes individuals useless in today’s society, the progression of society relies on all individuals being open minded and participating in an open dialogue on pressing world issues.

    My participation in this trip has helped me view the world in a new mindset. I learned that it isn’t necessarily the citizens of different nations that have disagreements with one another, but rather it is their governments. This gives me hope that in the future world issues can be resolved if citizens of varying nations come together and start a respectful dialogue. I learned in my Intro to International Studies class that conflict is oftentimes the result of individual misperceptions. If viewpoints are shared and received with an open mind, potentially these misperceptions could be avoided all together.

    I feel more prepared for my future role in the International Studies field having gone on this trip. I feel more confident in my ability to participate in academic discussions in the subject area. Also the contact I made while in New York City, who happens to be a former SNC student, will be imperative down the road when I look for an internship and eventually a career. Even without this contact the trip overall will be useful when in a job interview as it will serve as an interesting talking point and unique experience I can bring to any work situation.  Overall, words cannot describe how amazing this trip was. I listened to international speakers, was able to talk face to face with the President of Iran, I became informed on many world issues, and witnessed firsthand the role many people take in the international relations process. 


    St. Norbert Collaborative

    Phone: (920) 403-3147
    Fax: (920) 403-4086

    St. Norbert College • 100 Grant Street • De Pere, WI 54115-2099 • 920-337-3181