Roanoke Underclassmen Participate in Young Global Leaders Conference

Speakers present on and discuss national security from domestic and foreign views

Three Roanoke College underclassmen attended a conference titled "The U.S. in the World: Redefining Major Power Relations" in October 2007. Alberto Galeana '10, Azalea Joyner '11 and Lauren Woodard '11 were nominated by Dr. Heath Brown, public affairs professor.

The Young Global Leaders Peace and Security Summit, held at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, was hosted by the Americans for Informed Democracy (AID) and the Stanley Foundation. Esteemed speakers from Japan, China, India and the United States presented on issues from their experiences and perspectives.

"The conference talked about the U.S.'s presence overseas and how we're seen by the other countries, and more specifically, where the U.S. stands with foreign countries and how our policies should be changing," Joyner says. Discussions centered around the United States' policies on national security and how they can be improved. According to the AID Web site, the summit was to examine "how the United States [could] best thrive in an age of multiple major powers."

"The benefit of going to these conferences is that you get different points of view, not just from the students, but also from the people presenting, especially from those with an international background," Galeana says.

Dr. Patrick Cronin, director of studies for the International Institute for Strategic Studies, opened the conference with a summary of the power that each continent has and its views on the United States, emphasizing the war in Iraq.

"I think this type of opportunity makes you really excited about what you're learning," Woodard says. "To see it in a real life situation and to actually see how our government affects other countries with concrete examples increases your understanding and, at the same time, it leads you to other ideas."

After the presentations, participants were divided into groups to discuss the issues presented and respond to questions posed by a representative. Group members consisted of students from colleges all over Virginia as well as adults who had special interest in the topic.

"Conferences like this and professors like Dr. Brown help you to branch out and realize your potential, what you can do and what you're really interested in," Joyner says. After the conference, all three students say that they are able to connect the topics discussed with either their classes or major.

"Although classes are important to me, it's also important to have things outside to connect to class," says Woodard. "It excites me to be able to see things I'm learning in the classroom outside and be able to apply it - it's what I love."

Galeana, an international student from Mexico, is working on a major in international relations. He plays on the men's soccer team and is a member of the Hispanic Organization for Leadership and Achievement and the international club. Joyner, from Suffolk, also is studying international relations. She participated in the office of multicultural affairs' building on diversity program. Woodard is from New Milford, Conn. and is in the honors program, Salem Girl Scouts and Roanoke's Rotaract club.


Shena Sanchez

About the Author

Shena Sanchez is a 2008 graduate in English from Virginia. She was a student writer in the College's PR office and was very active on campus in several organizations, including Alpha Sigma Alpha and InterVaristy Christian Fellowship.

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