Though it’s fair to say that Fletcher students are generally focused on their coursework and career development, they certainly don’t shy away from involvement in our surrounding community. About a week ago, Fletcher’s Ralph Bunche Society hosted local high school students for an introduction to international affairs. The Ralph Bunche Society’s mission is “to raise the awareness of the contributions that minorities and people of color have made in the field of international relations, and also to encourage students of color to consider educational and career opportunities in international affairs.” RBS members Ryo and Stéphane sent me this update.
Wait, you didn’t read about this in The Times?
Well, that’s because this decision was the result of an NSC simulation, modeled after Professor Martel’s annual simulations, completed by students in Fletcher’s very own ASEAN Auditorium. In one additional twist, the roles of cabinet secretaries were not filled by a group of bleary-eyed MALDs, but rather 11 ambitious, and somewhat nervous, high school juniors.
This exercise was just one part of the Ralph Bunche Society’s (RBS) three-part program to introduce Match High School students to careers related to international affairs. The students displayed their passion and aptitude during the simulation by not only enthusiastically presenting their positions to the President, a role assumed by Terrence Stinson, 2013-14 Fletcher Military Fellow, but also by the manner in which they tied U.S.-Iran policy decisions to domestic concerns and U.S. commitments in East Asia.
Prior to the simulation exercise, our Diplomat-in-Residence, Evyenia Sidereas, spoke to the students about the U.S. Foreign Service, and provided them with information about scholarship and fellowship opportunities to study foreign languages abroad and international relations in college. Additionally, Fletcher students and RBS members engaged in a brief dialogue with the Match High School students and described their pre-Fletcher experiences in international affairs. Judging by the thank you letter we received from the students’ teacher, we didn’t scare them too much:
The kids had a terrific time, and definitely came away with a much clearer idea about what further study in international relations might look like. Students at Match typically say they want to go into business, nursing, or engineering, so congratulations, because today two of my students told me that they are now considering studying politics. They both described the work as “exciting” and “cool” — no small feat! You were able to ensure the kids had a really eye-opening experience and the event has already had a great impact. I’m sure it will stay with them as they move on to choosing new paths for themselves in their education.