Forum an instrument for world change

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    By Amberlie Romney

    Bringing about change in world issues is something most students read about in textbooks, but for students doing international research, it can be a reality.

    Scott Sanders, an international politics major, researched Tibetan human rights in India.

    “Through my paper and research, I hope to help people realize that we can make a difference,” Sanders said.

    Sanders presented his research Friday, Oct. 26, in a forum put on by the Kennedy Center for International Studies.

    Sanders originally planned to research religious beliefs in India but changed his focus to how the Chinese government was denying religious freedom and education in the Tibetan-Automous region.

    His change of mind was a result of meeting an 80-year-old monk.

    The monk approached Sanders inquiring about the book he was reading.

    The monk knew many of the Tibetan refugees mentioned in the book because he had recently escaped from Chinese imprisonment also.

    “He [the monk] made it real for me, it wasn”t just a story from a book. I saw his scars from the torture,” Sanders said.

    Sanders said he decided to present his research in the forum because the Tibetan people live in shocking circumstances, and most Americans know little about that.

    The forum was a way for students to share their ideas and researching methods with others and to help other students learn more about world issues.

    Malcom Botto, a facilitator with the International Studies Office said, “it [the forum] makes us more aware of certain issues and brings up questions, like what”s the best way to teach health or teach about new technological developments and how to help in racial issues.”

    In addition to learning about world issues, Botto said the students who present are able to analyze the research they have done.

    Emma Mecham, an international studies major, also presented her research in the forum, on Friday, Oct. 26. She researched the educational projects of non-governmental organizations in India.

    “Presenting it helped bring a conclusion to what I learned and helped synthesize it,” Mecham said.

    “The forum allows everyone to understand their world better, especially students because they were able to live with native families and see how they live and how these families perceive reality,” Botto said.

    Botto said the forum benefits more than just the students. According to Botto, it allows faculty to see what the students they mentor have been doing.

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