Congratulations to nine students from the College of Charleston who successfully completed the annual Southern Regional Model UN (SRMUN) conference held on October 23-25. Participation in this conference was part of the experiential learning course POLI 261-Model United Nations, taught by Professor Kovalov. In the past, Professor Kovalov took students for SRMUN to Atlanta for a 3-day event but the pandemic pushed organizers to look for safer ways to engage students in diplomacy. This was the first virtual SRMUN conference via zoom and students enjoyed this experience. In fact, several students commented that the virtual conference exceeded their expectations. Our students represented the delegation of the Russian Federation and they spent the first part of the fall 2020 semester learning about the UN, global issues, international diplomacy, the rules of the debate, and Russia’s foreign policy. The College of Charleston delegation included Gabrielle Carter, Macie Hardin, Hunter Harvey-Montano, Jordan Mercer, Gracie Pace, Savannah Petrelli, Sophia Stoios, Kara Swider, and Caroline Walker. Gabrielle Carter was recognized with the Best Delegate Award in the Economic and Social Council.
Check out more about the Southern Regional Model United Nations (SRMUN) at their website www.srmun.org
Dr. Kristen McLean is undertaking a new study of Community-based Experiences of Covid-19 in Sierra Leone. While many countries around the world are witnessing a decline in coronavirus cases, rates of infection continue to climb across the African continent, prompting one scientist to refer to the situation as a “ticking time bomb.” This is concerning for a number of reasons. First, system challenges—such as limited testing and diagnostic capacity and poor monitoring and data collection systems—will make it difficult for many African countries to effectively respond to the pandemic. A rise in treatment needs and mitigation efforts targeting COVID-19 will also divert already limited resources needed to tackle existing health issues in the region, such as HIV, TB, malaria, malnutrition, and maternal health.
In Sierra Leone, where McLean has worked since 2013, a rise in Covid-19 cases will likely lead to substantial disruption. As exemplified during the 2014-2015 Ebola outbreak, Sierra Leone’s healthcare system has been severely weakened due to its history of civil war, followed by years of underinvestment in public health services. This created obvious problems during the epidemic, when hospitals and clinics quickly became overwhelmed and local populations avoided public facilities. At the same time, given their history and experience with Ebola virus disease, Sierra Leoneans may be uniquely positioned to respond to the current COVID-19 pandemic.
It is with an appreciation for the need to engage with local communities that this study seeks to understand what has been referred to as “the view from below” in the midst of a global humanitarian response. This project will rely upon phone-based qualitative interviews to assess individuals’ greatest concerns regarding the pandemic, what they are doing to protect themselves and their families from infection, and how people are coping with the indirect economic ramifications that social distancing and other containment measures pose.
If you are interested in learning more about the study, or would like to pursue this topic for your bachelor’s essay, please email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
International studies major Aaron Aldstadt ’20 received the highly competitive award from the Fulbright U.S. Student Program this spring, allowing him to study, research and teach overseas.
“My career goals include engaging as a responsible global citizen, as well as to become a U.S. foreign service officer or to serve in a cultural diplomatic role,” says Aldstadt, adding that he first became interested in international studies in an introductory course with faculty member Sarah Wuigk. “It really sparked my interest in the major and fostered an appreciation for a global perspective.”
Aldstadt will be broadening that perspective through his Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship (ETA) in South Korea, where he’ll be teaching secondary school students.
“My focus as a Fulbright ETA will be to strengthen English language abilities and knowledge of American culture,” he says. “By focusing on the importance of communication, I hope to make a positive impression with the Korean people and to serve as a positive bridge builder between our cultures.”
Check out the full article in The College TODAY.
INTL 390-02 ST: Africa and China
Instructor: Dr. Julius Mutwol
(counts towards: INTL major – Africa and Asia concentrations, INTL Minor, the African Studies minor, and the POLI major)
This course examines China’s role in African economic development. Topics include historical and contemporary relationship and expanded commercial ties, trade, assistance and investment, as well as China’s policy of non-interference in Africa’s domestic affairs. We will also examine China’s investment and aid by sub-regions of Africa, and in specific sectors of African economies, especially in infrastructure development, oil extraction, mining, and agriculture. The course will also highlight controversial areas of China’s engagement with Africa, especially concerns about human rights, labor issues, and the environment.
Dr. Mutwol is an Associate Professor of Political Science at Charleston Southern University. He holds a Ph.D. in International Relations and an M.A. from Johns Hopkins University (SAIS), as well as a B.A. in Political Science from Cleveland State University. He is the author of Peace Agreements and Civil Wars in Africa (2010) and previously taught at Johns Hopkins and Wilberforce University before joining CSU. Originally from Kenya, Dr. Mutwol has also worked as a commentator for KASS FM International, a Kenyan radio station, and as a consultant for a variety of international organizations. He was honored by the Black History Intercollegiate Consortium with the Martin Luther King Jr. Award in 2015.
Deniz Houston ’16 jumped at the opportunity to spend five weeks working at the FIFA World Cup Russia in Sochi this summer. This international studies major who double-minored in political science and Russian Studies at the College, got to be front and center at the games – and got to use her Russian language skills, as well.
The College Today did an article on her exciting time. Check it out here!