Twelve Hamilton College students traveled to New Haven, Conn., on Oct. 25-28 to participate in the 30th annual Security Council Simulation at Yale (SCSY). These students are members of Model United Nations, an organization that enables students to attend various Model U.N. conferences throughout the year. The purpose of the organization is to improve public speaking and writing skills while learning about the official U.N. procedures.
Sponsored by the Levitt Center, 11 Hamilton students recently traveled to Germany to represent Romania and Slovakia at an international Model European Union (EuroSim) conference. This year's event was hosted by the Universities of Trier and Saarbrucken, and concentrated on possible independence for the Kosovo region of Serbia. The participants Elena Filekova '08, Stephen Sallan '08, Tamim Akiki '08, Murtaza Jafri '08, Matt D'Amico '08, Henok Alemayo '10, Mariam Ballout '10, Zeynep Harezi '10, Kasey Hildonen '10, Reisa Asimovic '11 and Robert Eisenhart '11 prepared through weekly meetings and individual research in the preceding months.
Eleven Hamilton students participated in the Harvard National Model United Nations conference at the Boston Park Plaza on Feb.14-17. The conference consisted of approximately 3,000 delegates from 30 different countries. Samantha Power, a 2003 Pulitzer Prize-winning author on the U.N. and the Rwandan genocide and professor at Harvard University, delivered a speech about leadership in international policy for the opening ceremony.
In the summer of 2000, Stephen W. Orvis in the Government Department led an interdisciplinary, three-week field school excursion to Kenya. Eleven students who were enrolled in a Seminar on Contemporary Kenya last spring traveled with him to examine political, economic, cultural, environmental, and gender issues. They looked at these issues through a wide array of "hands-on" learning experiences, as well as a series of discussions with leading politicians, journalists and civic activists from Kenya. The trip was made possible through support of the Levitt Center and the Office of Financial Aid.
The students spent most of their first week in southern Kenya. Traveling with the staff of the International Livestock Research Institute, the group got an inside look at how a contemporary Maasai pastoralist encampment operates. They also studied development projects such as large-scale group ranches and wildlife management and an elephant conservation project.
The second week began in Nairobi, the capital of Kenya, where the group spent a day touring the city with a Kenyan geographer who is an expert on the city's history and neighborhoods. They worked with a poor women's self-help group in one neighborhood in the city, learned about this community's problems, and pitched in on a building project.
Attending a class at the University of Nairobi, they discussed contemporary local politics and learned about university education there. They also visited one of the best known high schools in the country, Alliance High School, the alma mater of Hamilton students Evans Mbugua '99 and Peter Omenda '03.
After a few days in the capital, the group spent four days living with members of the Greenbelt Movement (GBM). GBM organizes local women to plant trees to achieve reforestation, helps them get politically involved at the local level, and serves as a leading environmental lobby group in Nairobi. Students also lived with Kikuyu farming families in Central Province, where they experienced daily living and farming and helped with reforestation projects.
From there, the group headed to Mombasa, situated on the Indian Ocean. Mombasa is the heart of a centuries-old, urban, literate, Moslem African society, the Swahili. The group took a walking tour of the Swahili "Old Town" with a Swahili biologist who demonstrated the ways in which the urban Swahili culture has been shaped by its ecological interactions with the sea.
They heard traditional Swahili poetry and took a guided tour of the 500-year old "Fort Jesus," originally built by Portuguese invaders. They also visited a Swahili wood-carvers' cooperative, spoke with a leading Mombasa journalist, and met a Moslem human rights activist. Then they traveled to the Coastal Reef Conservation Project, where the director lectured about coastal environmental concerns, particularly involving efforts to preserve the world-famous coral reef.
The field school ended in Nairobi, where students met with a Member of Parliament, a leading local journalist, a women's rights lobbying and education group, USAID personnel, and a former political detainee who now heads the Release Political Prisoners lobby group. Individual research projects were an integral part of the field school, including an opportunity to interview Kenyans on issues of interest followed by a written report.
Students in the Cultures of Empire class pose in London with the two faculty members who led the trip.
Elizabeth Evans '02 shares her experiences on a class trip to London.
Last Spring, 20 of my fellow classmates and I explored London as a part of the English/History course, Cultures of Empire. The week-long field trip gave us the exhilarating experience of researching imperial Britain amidst London's historically rich, pulsating setting. After intensive study through numerous texts and lectures at Hamilton, our visit to London's grand monuments, such as Westminster Abbey and the British Museum, were rewarding, unforgettable events.
During our time in London, we pursued individual research projects that examined unique aspects of British imperial culture. One student focused on Rolls Royce and Bentley automobiles as icons of the British Empire and was able to visit several dealerships in the London area and tour the production facilities. Another studied artistic representations of Queen Victoria and visited London's art museums and galleries along with royal palaces and local parks. My project dealt with the imperial origins of the Poets' Corner in Westminster Abbey which led me to spend many memorable hours absorbing over 900 years of history in this venerable shrine.
Guided by Professors Kevin Grant and Patricia O'Neill, we arranged interviews with London experts and obtained permission to access libraries and other private collections unavailable for general public use. The highlight of my trip was an afternoon spent in the Westminster Abbey private library. With one archivist constantly peering over my shoulder while another foraged through the labyrinthine chambers for helpful materials, I read centuries-old Abbey journals and manuscripts, shedding critical insight on my project. I am still incredulous that I was admitted and so graciously aided by the Abbey librarians. The experience was awesome.
After researching during the day, my friends and I hit the pubs for some hearty English cooking and a few pints. Other highlights of the trip included attending a production of the Merchant of Venice, visiting local street markets and "clubbing" in Soho. I enthusiastically recommend the Cultures of Empire course to independent students seeking an exceptional study experience and a jolly good time.
-Elizabeth Evans '02
Twelve students in Professor Marcy Sacks' African American History class had a rare opportunity to walk a "trail of tears" and experience first-hand some of the most important sites in civil rights history. Accompanied by Maurice Isserman, Hamilton's William R. Kenan Professor of History, the class boarded an Amtrak train in Utica during March break in 1999 and headed south.
The first stop was Atlanta where they met Congressman John Lewis, former national chairman of the Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). He recounted his experiences as a child growing up in rural Alabama, his first meeting with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and his involvement in the struggle for human rights.
Later a tour guide from the Atlanta Preservation Center gave them a walking tour of the Sweet-Auburn district, home to many Black-owned businesses during the late nineteenth century. They toured the site of Ebenezer Baptist Church where Dr.King was pastor, the King national historic site and the headquarters of the Southern Christian Leadership Council (SCLC).
Next the train took them to Birmingham, passing through Anniston, Alabama, the site of the 1961 bombing of the Freedom Riders' bus. They visited Selma, and walked across the Edmund Pettis Bridge, site of Bloody Sunday in 1965 when Alabama State Troopers blocked a group of marchers led by John Lewis, and chased them with tear gas and billy clubs. Joanne Bland, a participant of that march who now serves as the secretary for the museum built at the site, took the group on a tour of the city, explaining that some racial separation still exists.
From Selma they drove the historic route of the march to Montgomery in 1965, passing the marker of a white Detroit housewife who was killed by KKK members as she shuttled marchers back home to Selma. In front of the Southern Poverty Law Center they dipped their hands in the water of the fountain dedicated to civil rights bearing the words "Until justice rolls down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream." They read the names of 40 people killed in the struggle for civil rights, and listened to Mrs. Johnny Carr who took part in the Montgomery bus boycott.
During a tour of the Alabama State Capitol the students were stunned by the depiction of a different view of history - the walls are decorated with a portrait of George Wallace, a mural of the conflict of whites and Indians, a glorified scene of an antebellum plantation, and three AfricanAmerican men hauling bales of cotton.
The next stop was Birmingham where they toured Kelly Ingram Park, the site of the police attack on civil rights protestors using fire hoses and police dogs. They then visited the 16th Street Baptist Church where four teen-age girls died in a bomb attack in 1963. Across the street is the Civil Rights Institute with exhibits that chronicle the struggle for human rights.
|"This was the first conscious effort made by students to bridge some of the racial divides that exist in this country, even among people who describe themselves as open minded "human liberty in the South, and currently taking place in other parts of the world.|
Students took some time to discuss some of their differing reactions to the trip, struggling with different perceptions and concerns. "This was the first conscious effort made by students to bridge some of the racial divides that exist in this country, even among people who describe themselves as open-minded," said Sacks. "This was, in many ways, the most profound learning experience of the trip."
The train took them to New Orleans where they explored the tastes, sights and sounds of Bourbon Street. At the Laura Plantation they learned about the use of slaves in sugar production and how the B'rer Rabbit stories were born.
Passing through Mississippi and on to Memphis, they walked down Beale Street where the Blues came to life. They took a tour of the Slavehaven Estate, part of the Underground Railroad, and passed a slave auction site.
The train took them on to Chicago where they visited the home of one of the African American students for some good home cooking. "This experience helped to further build bridges as students shared social time in unique ways," explained Sacks.
The tour ended in the Newberry Library, as historian James Grossman discussed the significance of the Great Migration and its implications. That evening the group boarded the train and returned to Clinton, only thirteen days older, but much wiser. Many said this had been a life-changing experience.-Sally Carman