Forum to focus on foreign policy issues

Organizers hope students will look beyond media for policy information.

by Elizabeth Giorgi

According to foreign policy expert Tom Hanson, there are two things students need to know about foreign policy: how it impacts them and how they can plug in to the issues.

To address the foreign policy questions of the year as well as the questions students might have about how they can get involved, the Minnesota International Center will have a forum tonight to address the possible challenges and trends in U.S. foreign policy.

Hanson is the program secretary for the St. Paul-Minneapolis Committee on Foreign Relations and will be the main speaker for the event. Hanson said attendees of the event can expect a program that will focus on foreign-policy issues beyond the media obsession with Iraq and Iran.

Hanson said that although it may sound cliché, University students are living in “an increasingly globalized world” and there are tremendous opportunities for them to obtain knowledge about the ways in which they can become involved.

“There are new uncertainties, and threats, in a way, with terrorism, outsourcing Ö Students have to ask themselves how they plug into this international world,” he said.

Hanson said he plans on addressing issues including the economic ties between the United States and China and the dynamics of the increasing global population in India and China.

The program gives students the opportunity to be globally responsible, Hanson said. Too often people get locked into their own “echo chambers” and these types of programs give an opportunity to see outside of that, he said.

MIC President Carol Engebretson Byrne said events such as the forum provide students with the chance to obtain increased educational opportunities and feel empowered by their knowledge.

She said Hanson is a trusted authority in the foreign policy field and his presentations are always done with thoughtful communication.

Byrne said that too often people get their knowledge about foreign affairs through “short sound bites” in media, but by attending events such as this one, people can start to get “beyond the headlines.”

Angela McLaughlin, MIC special events manager, organized today’s event.

She said Hanson is a good speaker for the event because he is an inspiring person.

McLaughlin said she often jokes that she “wants to be like Tom when she grows up,” because he has been such a leader in his field and has been able to accomplish many things in his career.

Global studies junior Chelsea Allen said she would be more interested in a program that addresses the state of the war in Iraq or the issues of North Korea, because “it is an area of the world we tend to ignore.”