International students to talk about government, politics in home countries

Ball State University hosts more than 500 international students with different backgrounds and experiences each year. At 7 p.m. today in Teachers College Room 102, students will have the opportunity to hear from five of them about government and politics in their home countries.

The panel discussion, "Left or Right?: Views From Around the World," includes students from Iceland, Burkina Faso, Russia, Afghanistan and Turkey. It is being sponsored by the Office of Student Life, the Center for Peace and Conflict Studies and the Social Justice League. This is the fifth event of the biannual political Week of Action, which kicked off on Wednesday with former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean's visit.

"We wanted to bring viewpoints from other political systems and make students aware of all the advantages we have in America," Elizabeth Earl, graduate assistant in the Center for Peace and Conflict Studies, said.

Earl said students will learn about other cultures and the advantages American students have compared to their international counterparts.

"I hope students see the importance they can have in our government here," Earl said. "The freedoms we have, they [the panelists] might not experience there."

Amy Jobst, graduate assistant in the Office of Student Life, said she thinks the panel will be a great experience for students.

"Students can expect a really great experience on learning about cultures different than in the United States," Jobst said. "They can ask questions that they would not feel comfortable asking in class. These are their fellow students."

Earl said she played a large role in choosing the students who would be on the panel. She said she found most of the students through the Rinker Center for International Programs.

The student from Iceland is the president of the Social Justice League. The student representing Afghanistan was the 11th female to serve on the United States side of the Iraqi Armed Forces.

"We tried to get students from a wide range of political systems while keeping time constraints in mind," Earl said.

Jobst said student involvement helped make the Week of Action and the panel possible.

"We really just facilitated the week," Jobst said. "We got students involved and spread education about what is going on."


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