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A Unique International Experience for High School Students

Young people from over twenty nations got a unique experience at the 2013 World Affairs Seminar (WAS) June 15 - 21, 2013 at Carroll University, Waukesha, Wisconsin.  Over a one week period, student delegates attended lectures, met in small groups to discuss issues, participated in field trips and created a Capstone project which was presented on the last full day of the Seminar. 

The World Affairs Seminar was started in 1977.  The brainchild of Rotarian Dr. Dale Brock, the program now has over 27,000 alumni living all over the globe.  "Student Delegates come from all corners of the world," says Tom Plantenberg, CEO of WAS. "When they leave they take with them life skills and self-confidence.  The experience can change their lives." 

In recent years the seminar has become more responsive to the needs and wishes of the participants, said Plantenberg.   "This year we made many changes.  Some were programmatic such as capstone presentations, and others were accommodations like adding swimming to our recreational agenda.  Our new Academic Dean, David Howell, relates beautifully with the student delegates, and he has had a wonderful impact.  His philosophy empowers every participant, including counselors and staff, to be both a student and a teacher."

One of the impressive aspects of WAS is how students support and encourage one another as they go through the experience of interacting and getting to know people from different cultures.  This builds both skill and personal confidence.  When young people from diverse backgrounds learn to address issues and solve problems together, says Plantenberg, they carry those skills to adulthood.  When they face real issues and challenges, the insights they gained at WAS prove to be valuable.

 WAS 2013  delegates and counselors came from Austria, Anguilla, British West Indies, Cayman islands, Mexico, Nepal, Nigeria, Norway, the United Kingdom, Argentina, the Virgin Islands, Brazil, Haiti, India, Cambodia/Laos, Greece, South Korea, Turks & Caikos, Slovakia, twenty-one US States and five Canadian provinces

"We owe a debt of gratitude to Rotary International, Kiwanis's, Lions and other Service Clubs, as well as school districts and individuals who provide scholarships which enable students to attend," Plantenberg said.  "This makes participation by an international group possible.  The curiosity, academic excellence and enthusiasm of attendee's are truly impressive.  Each student adds to the quality of the experience."


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Article was contributed by Thomas M. Plantenberg, Executive Director/CEO of World Affairs Seminar


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