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ECSU students attend national security colloquium
Dr. Shahid Shahidullah
December 19, 2012

ECSU students attend national security colloquium Several ECSU students, faculty and staff recently traveled to Washington D.C. to attend a colloquium hosted by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Public Affairs.

Elizabeth City State University is a partner of the Mid-Atlantic Consortium Center for Academic Excellence Project funded by the Defense Intelligence Agency. The project is centrally managed and directed by Morgan State University under the leadership of its Executive Director Dr. Arlene Maclin. At ECSU, the project is directed and organized by Dr. Shahid. M. Shahidullah of the Department of Criminal Justice, Sociology, and Social Work and Dr. Vandana Gavaskar of the Department of Language, Literature, and Communication. The main objective of the project is to recruit and mentor a core group of HBCU students to be competitive to work for various federal intelligence agencies. As a part of this project, ECSU’s 32 students and 9 faculty and staff participated in a colloquium hosted by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Public Affairs in Washington DC on November 1, 2012.

The colloquium was organized into two sessions. The first session spotlighted U.S. foreign policy issues and strategies in South Asia and the second session was on foreign and civil service career opportunities within the Department of State. The presenters in the first session included Anne Benjaminson, Economic Team Leader, Afghanistan; Linda Specht, Deputy Director, Foreign Affairs Office (Pakistan Desk); Daniel Kronenfeld, Deputy Director, SNB (Sri Lanka, Nepal, and Bangladesh Desk); and Merin Rajadurai, Counsel, India Desk at the Department of State. The speakers addressed the various foreign policy issues and challenges of these regions in terms of three core U.S. foreign policy missions in South Asia: 1) reduction of political violence and fragmentations, and strengthening the culture of reconciliations; 2) increasing U.S. trade and investment in the region; and 3) strengthening the region’s institutions of democracy (i.e., improving the rule of law, strengthening the justice institutions, and making effective counterterrorism law and policies).

The second session on career opportunities was led by Ambassador Teddy Taylor and Mrs. Debra Faltz. Ambassador Taylor, who is a product of a HBCU (Florida A & M), advised the students to develop a high passion for Foreign Service through their engagement in international affairs, science and technology, and the learning of foreign languages. He challenged the students to find a job comparable to U.S. Foreign Service where they can meet and converse with the world’s kings and emperors, presidents and prime ministers. Ms. Faltz, on the other hand, introduced the students to various career and internship opportunities within the civil service of the Department of State. The colloquium has opened up a new horizon for ECSU students to explore their future professional interests and career opportunities within the U.S. federal government.

Students who participated in this project came from ECSU’s School of Business and Economics, School of Mathematics, Science and Technology, and the School of Arts and Humanities. The faculty traveled with the students included Dr. Shahid Shahidullah, Dr. Vandana Gavaskar, Dr. Boansi Kwabena, Dr. Jeanne Marquitz, Dr. Shyamal Das, and Dr. Kuldeep Rawat. The staff traveled with the students included Ms. Joyce Shaw, Ms. Cynthia Pierce, Ms. Sheila Parry, and Ms. Mary Thornton. Ms. Shaw of the Department of Criminal Justice, Sociology and Social Work, on behalf of the MAC-CAE project, coordinated this student trip to DC.

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