Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Ambassador Barrie Walkley

Today, the newly-appointed ambassador to the Great Lakes region of Africa came to SMC to make remarks regarding the current situation in that area. His past experience is impressive; he began his career as a diplomat serving in the Peace Corps for two years in Somalia, is multilingual and has previously served as a foreign diplomat in Guinea, Sao Tome, Gabon and Principe.

As one might expect at such an event, his remarks were well informed but vague; as a politician would be. For me the lecture was purely educational since the situation in Congo is something that I unfortunately don't know a lot about. But following his remarks the Ambassador took questions from a student panel as well as the audience, and needless to say there was debate. The student panel was in a position such that they had to pose their questions in an indirect and formal manner, but the audience had more freedom to be impassioned and direct in their inquisitions, and they did not hesitate to exercise this freedom. From an Anthropological standpoint, it was fascinating, and now I find myself more informed on the issue.

But in a situation like this, being informed can be overwhelming. It seems that there is so much going on and it's hard to fit yourself into the equation. At events like this, I often find myself leaving somewhat let down because for this reason. It's so easy to care and much harder to figure out exactly what you can do to make a change.

This is both a blessing and a curse of going to college, I've accepted. But it is a blessing; it shows that there are so many people who care about so many things; enough to bring Ambassadors to campus in order to raise awareness of their respective causes, and hopefully bring about change. So applause to the Dear Hillary campaign for bringing the Ambassador to campus tonight! You can learn more about the campaign here.

Thanks for reading!

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