>A Look Back at the Summer Seminar on World Affairs


Monday June 15, 2009 was the first day of the Summer Seminar on World Affairs and it was an enjoyable day. Monday’s expert speaker was Dennis Unkovic, Esq. Following an informative presentation, the students were divided into groups where they were given a policy scenario to deliberate. Monday’s scenario dealt with The Changing Dynamics of America and Asia. Below are a couple participant reactions for the day.

Dennis Unkovic, the speaker for the day, taught us today about the issues facing Asia and America’s relationship. We were asked to answer four questions on how to solve the problem if asked by President Obama: blocking the sale of a military missile defense system by Boeing to Taiwan; a possible Congressional response to proposed legislation; whether or not send US aircraft carriers; and lastly a question dealing with oil supplies. Together our group discussed all four issues and came up with a common agreement for each. Our group felt that there should be a more aggressive approach to the situation, by military means if necessary. When we convened to share our decision on the matter, I saw that no two groups had the same take on the situation. In some cases, groups wanted to have a closer tie to China and in others it was Taiwan. Some of the groups had relatively similar decisions, but all shared a particular insight to how a conflict could be resolved. In other groups, there were issues that would not be resolved so easily. It became apparent that solutions to a problem could work in the end, or fail miserably. All of the groups discovered that with each decision made, there are particular consequences to follow; some minor and others major, but solutions to a conflict are always there.

In conclusion, the first day at the Summer Seminar on World Affairs was a truly educational experience. Though the issues presented today were highly controversial, all of us grasped the moral and economic sides to certain scenarios, and furthermore came to understand that there is always more than one solution to an issue. It became clear that the decisions political figures, leaders, and the people behind them make are controversial but essential in shaping our world into what it is today.
— Jettie, The Ellis School (Light Blue Group)

The speaker created for us a scenario in which the U.S. was placed in conflict with China over the possible sale of a defense system to Taiwan. When we all shared our group decisions, it was fascinating to see how such a small group could come up with such radically different policies. For example, while some groups gave in to China’s every wish and others threatened near war, my less radical group solved the conflict by making deals with China because of its involvement in our economy. I, the lone dissenter, strongly suggested that we side with Taiwan because of its support of the US and democracy in East Asia. Even though I disagreed with them on almost everything, my group encouraged me to share my minority report in front of the group, something that made me feel so much more comfortable with voicing my opposing views in the face of an overwhelming majority.
— Lauren, Oakland Catholic High School (Gray Group)

To view the topics of other presenters, please view the full program or the Council’s wiki site for more information and blog entries.