186 South College

grab your coffee, sit back and hang out with the UD Honors Program for a while

Month: November 2011

Red Cross is a lifelong passion for a UDHP Student

by Lauren Woglom

I started volunteering for the Red Cross on my 8th birthday. At the age of 11, I learned about the Measles Initiative, an international partnership led by the American Red Cross, United Nations Foundation, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, UNICEF and World Health Organization, that has been working for the last decade to reduce the number of measles deaths around the globe. As I learned about the initiative, I was incredibly moved by the images that I saw of the children living in poverty in Africa. I was appalled to learn that mothers would not name their children until they reached the age of 4 or 5 for fear that they would become attached to a child that would die of measles, and I could not believe that $1 would buy a measles vaccine that could change the lives of those families. Although I had known that there were people living in the world whose lives were less comfortable and less safe than mine, I realized for the first time that I could do something to help lessen the burden felt by those who were suffering. Through my interest in the Measles Initiative, I first learned about the satisfaction of volunteer work and developed a passion for the work of the Red Cross Movement. At this time, I also became a part of the Red Cross family, a family that has supported me and pushed me to do things that I never would have imagined that I could do. Although I have continued to volunteer with the organization, the Red Cross has paid me handsomely with leadership experience, opportunities to practice public speaking, lessons in networking and chances to travel across the US and internationally.

Most recently, my experience as a Red Cross volunteer took me to Washington, DC, where I was a summer intern in the International Services Department. As a member of the International Humanitarian Law (IHL) Dissemination team, I was a part of a group that is working to inspire Americans to understand the universal concepts of humanitarianism and human dignity that are outlined in the Geneva Conventions. As an intern, it was my responsibility to draw from my background as a Red Cross volunteer and a university student to find innovative ways to teach American youth about the international standards of humanitarianism.

At the beginning of the summer, I had the wonderful opportunity to travel to Oslo, Norway to participate in a conference for the Promotion of IHL to Young People, which was hosted by the International Committee of the Red Cross and the Norwegian Red Cross. At this conference, I met people who have worked and lived all over the world, was able to hear about the ways in which 20 different National Societies of the Red Cross Movement are teaching about IHL to the young people in their countries, and had the opportunity to present the findings of a break out session in front of all the conference participants. Although it would seem that this trip would be the highlight of my summer experience, it was only a part of what made my internship so rewarding.

As an intern, it was my responsibility to draw from my background as a Red Cross volunteer and a university student to find innovative ways to teach American youth about the international standards of humanitarianism.

I truly enjoyed that fact that I was able to build upon the lessons that I have learned as a Red Cross volunteer and as a student at the University of Delaware in the work that I was assigned. Using my background in peer tutoring as a Writing Fellow with the Honors Program, for example, I worked with another intern to develop a model of peer-to-peer IHL education for university students. I also had the opportunity to co-author an article that was published in Social Education, a national Social Studies education journal, that outlined the ways in which education about IHL can be used to teach about social issues, such as bullying, that appear in American schools every day.

I found that the most rewarding aspect of my internship, however, was the knowledge that I was part of a team whose work has incredible value. Through their efforts to teach about the importance of International Humanitarian Law, the IHL team promotes a message of humanitarianism that transcends international boundaries, cultures, faiths and languages. It is a message of tolerance, respect, and compassion that highlights the very best of humanity and reminds us that the world is a beautiful place when we all make the choice to treat one another with dignity.

From Delaware to Dubai: An Honors Experience

by Max Kramer

During spring break, I had the once-in-a-lifetime experience of traveling to Dubai with eight other Honors Program students and Prof. Ralph Begleiter through the Honors section of the Global Agenda course. An eye opening and life changing experience, we all learned so much about the culture, political situation, and the economics of the United Arab Emirates and the greater Middle East region of the world.

An aerial view of Dubai.

 

The opportunities that this trip offered to us were both extraordinary and endless. We had the chance to visit a historic town in Hatta and see the way people lived pre-modernization no more than fifty years ago! We saw Old Dubai by visiting the Dubai Museum and the traditional souks, or marketplaces. We experienced New Dubai by visiting the Dubai Mall, which is the largest in the world, and traveling 124 stories to the top of the planet’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa. We got to go dune bashing, which is quad-biking over the desert dunes (something we did not even know existed prior to the trip!) and had the chance to visit Abu Dhabi, the capital, and meet with the UAE Foreign Ministry and staff at the US Embassy. The trip also took us to one of the world’s most extravagant and breathtaking mosques, the Sheik Zayed Grand Mosque of Abu Dhabi. The combination of all of these things and much more made for an unforgettable week.

 

But the best part of the trip for me and I think for many of the students on the trip was not the sites or the activities (though those were all amazing!). The main purpose of the trip was to visit with a group of female students from Zayed University with whom we videoconference weekly for the Honors Section of Global Agenda this semester. I think it is fair to say that all of our preconceived notions were largely proven incorrect and our expectations exceeded. I think none of us knew the extent of the Arab hospitality that we would be met with in the United Arab Emirates nor did we truly know how many opportunities there were for women in a country surrounded by others that face harsh repression. The opportunity to spend the week with the girls and talk about things ranging from culture to our two political systems created friendships that will last a lifetime and memories that we will keep forever.

We were introduced to a whole new culture, got to live in that culture for the week, and made some lifelong friends along the way.

Max Kramer was one of several Honors Program students who traveled to Dubai with Professor Ralph Begleiter.

This trip, I’d say, as aforementioned, for all of us, was eye opening and life changing. We were introduced to a whole new culture, got to live in that culture for the week, and made some lifelong friends along the way. I think it is fair to say that if it weren’t for this program not many of us would have students halfway across the world that we can learn from, keep in contact with, and call some of our best friends. I give a huge thank you to all of the UD departments who made this trip possible with their financial contributions: Alumni Relations, the Honors Program, the Office of the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, and the department of Political Science and International Relations. This trip would not have been possible without their generosity. Thank you also to Ralph Begleiter for organizing this trip and giving us the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to do things we could have never imagined possible!

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