Students go inside Washington

Andrew Timothy

While most QU students spend their winter breaks at home with family and friends, several QU students were selected to represent the University at The Washington Center’s (TWC) political seminars “Inside Washington 2010” and “Camp David III.”

The Quinnipiac students in attendance at either seminar were Chronicle Managing Editor Tara McMahon, Janelle Armentano, Brian Donnellan, Valerie Lynn Francisco, Amanda Gogh, Corey Glynn, Chelsey Hood, Kaiden Pieszak, Jeremy Schilling and Furtuna Velaj.

TWC’s “Inside Washington 2010” seminar was separated into two topics during the two-week program. The first week focused on Obama’s relationship with Congress, and the second week focused on politics and the media. Standout speakers included CNN correspondents John King and Dana Bash, NPR and Fox News contributor Juan Williams, former Nebraska Sen. Chuck Hagel, for Clinton press secretary Mike McCurry, and former Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie. However, the most notable speakers included Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Michael Mullen and perennial presidential candidate Ralph Nader. Representatives from organizations such as The Heritage Foundation, The Libertarian National Committee, the European Union and U.S. Institute for Peace spoke to the students over the course of the two weeks.

“The Washington Center seminar was one of the best programs I have ever experienced,” Gogh said. “I applied on a whim, and I am so happy I went through with my decision. The politicans and reporters I met in D.C. provided all the students with insight that we will all carry on with us as we go forth with our careers. The highlight of my trip was when Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mullen came to speak to us.  I highly recommend this program to anyone. It allows you to look at politics and the media in a completely different way.”

Schilling, who asked a question to Mullen, considered that to be the highlight of his trip.  As a political science minor, he also found the entire experience to be beneficial.

“The trip served as an interesting snapshot of the inner workings of our government and the power players that make it up,” he said.

The “Camp David III” seminar involved a simulation of the Israel/Palestinian peace process. Students visited the embassies of Israel, Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Saudi Arabia, as well as the Palestinian Mission to the United States.  Students also heard from representatives of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), and the American Task Force on Palestine.

“The best part of the trip was our trip to a Moroccan restaurant called Marrakesh,” Velaj said. “The first week we mostly went over the history of the conflict from both Israeli and Palestinian perspectives. During the settlement negotiations I represented Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad. This was an exciting and stimulating learning experience.”