Each year, second-year Park Scholars spend their fall break in Washington, D.C. analyzing a national issue as part of a unique learning experience which extends well beyond the classroom. This October, the Class of 2012 focused on exploring answers to the following question: “How is the image of the United States overseas affected by our foreign policy?”
Preparation for the experience began in the spring, when Learning Lab II committee chairs Will Cauley and Tim Dannenhoffer began working with Park Faculty Scholars Dr. Bob Grossfeld and Dr. Steve Barr, along with committee members Matt Authement, Chris Carr, Ethan Harrelson, Stephanie Leyrer, Michael McKnight and John Yanik. The group researched texts which would allow their class to develop a deeper understanding of the topic. As a result, the class spent the summer reading works such as Soft Power: The Means to Success in World Politics, The Post-American World and The Atlantic Alliance Under Stress: US-European Relations After Iraq, among others.
Earlier this fall, the Park Scholars invited Dr. Lynn Lawry, Senior Health Stability/Humanitarian Assistance Specialist with the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs, and Lieutenant Colonel James Brown, Deputy Commander for the 95th Civil Affairs Brigade, to campus for a dialogue which focused on military interventions and humanitarian aid.
In addition, the committee identified elected officials, opinion leaders, journalists and scholars whose experience would lend itself to providing cutting edge insight into the question. As a result, the Park Scholars engaged with the following individuals in Washington who helped the students critically examine how American foreign policy impacts how the country is portrayed overseas:
- U.S. Representative David Price (D-NC), Chairman of the House Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee
- U.S. Representative Brad Miller (D-NC), Member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs
- Dr. J. Stephen Morrison, Senior Vice President and Director, Global Health Policy Center, Center for Strategic and International Studies
- Mr. Walid Maalouf, former Director of Public Diplomacy at USAID and former US Public Delegate to the United Nations
- Dr. Julia Sweig, Nelson and David Rockefeller Senior Fellow for Latin American Studies and Director for Latin American Studies, Council on Foreign Relations
- Mr. Peter Hakim, President of the Inter-American Dialogue
- Mr. David Corn, Washington Bureau Chief for Mother Jones Magazine
- Dr. Richard Wike, Associate Director of the Pew Global Attitudes Project