Imagine meeting the leader of a global organization in the nation's capital. What would you say and how would you act?
Five Gettysburg College students experienced that rare opportunity at this fall's International Day of Democracy in Washington, D.C. Students observed the meeting of the Parliamentary Forum for Democracy, a newly organized coalition created to strengthen democracy and human rights worldwide, and met with its leader. "There was a wide range of speakers, from members of the Mongolian government to a representative from the Argentinean congress," said Carter McClintock '12, an international affairs and German double major who participated in the trip, coordinated by economics professor Rimvydas Baltaduonis and sponsored by the Eisenhower Institute.
"Students heard the success stories from countries where the advancement of democracy brought economic growth and development to their civil societies," said Baltaduonis. "They also learned about the challenges that many other countries continue to face on their path to democracy." Alison Moody '12, a political science and international affairs double major, left the meeting understanding more about one of those country's challenges. "There are more people struggling for democracy under the Castro regime in Cuba than I had thought," said Moody. "I enjoyed learning about the situation the Cubans face, and their eagerness for democracy."
The Forum includes current and former legislators from around the world. "One of the College's major goals is to foster students' growth as informed citizens at both the local and global level," said Baltaduonis. "Attending meetings such as this allows our students to stay closely connected to political, social, and economic issues worldwide as they prepare themselves to be the next generation of leaders." Baltaduonis arranged for the students to meet with the leader of this global organization, Emanuelis Zingeris. Also chair of the Committee on Foreign Affairs in the Lithuanian Parliament, Zingeris offered students this advice: "remain authentic, and listen to your hearts."
Founded in 1832, Gettysburg College is a highly selective four-year residential college of liberal arts and sciences with a strong academic tradition. Alumni include Rhodes Scholars, a Nobel laureate, and other distinguished scholars. The college enrolls 2,600 undergraduate students and is located on a 200-acre campus adjacent to the Gettysburg National Military Park in Pennsylvania.
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