From Chaos to Community: Faith and Racial Justice (Faith and Society Series Webinar)
Academic Event Reflection
20 January 2021, Zoom, 3pm-4:15pm
This event was very interesting to me since both my faith and racial justice are important parts of my life. Some of the main topics that were touched on is the church’s role in oppression, the responsibility of religious leaders to speak about politics, how those of different religious groups can work together to combat discrimination and oppression, and what some of the common values that the religions that were represented at the event are. In terms of the church’s role in oppression, the main point that was made with that was that it is not the religion that is oppressing people, but it is oppressors who abuse faith for power (made their faith self-serving instead of authentic). When speaking about the responsibility that religious leaders have to speak about political issues and current events, they all agreed that you cannot ever fully separate current events and religion and that if we see the world like God does that we should all use our platform to speak up for those who are oppressed. They also mentioned that many of the people who are a part of an organized religion are the people who need to hear about these issues the most and that religious leaders should use the platform that they are given to teach the congregation about how to approach the tougher issues such as discrimination and oppression to make change. With the common values and ways to work together topic, all of the leaders believed that the common value that all of the faiths share is that we should love one another which is why the issue of racial justice is so important for religious leaders to be aware of and work towards. They all agreed that we everyone, regardless of religion, could work together to make a change in the world for the better.
I really liked everything that the speakers at this event had to talk about and felt like they all made really good points. I agreed with everything that I heard there and hope that they can continue to speak up against injustice in their spheres of influence. This event related to the topic of international affairs since faith and racial justice are relevant issues in all areas of the world and also affect our international relations. The only question that I would have for the speakers is what their opinion is on religious leaders who feel like they are not responsible for talking about racial justice (especially those in predominantly white areas who feel like they are not affected by this issue). I feel like this is important for everyone around the world to prioritize because that will bring more people to faith when they feel welcomed, loved, and supported by their community. I wish that there would have been more religions represented in this event to see if there are any differing opinions in non-Abrahamic religions. Overall, this was really interesting, and I am glad that I got to watch it.
The Current State of Democracy in Turkey
Academic (?) Event Reflection
29 January 2021, Zoom, 3:30pm-5pm
This event was incredibly informational since I do not really know anything about Turkey, let alone their democracy and the history of it. The biggest thing that the speaker, Professor Asli Bali, focused on in this informative session was the uses and abuses of constitutionalism in Turkey’s government. Since I did not really have any background knowledge about this topic and there was so much information presented, a lot of the presentation, unfortunately, went over my head. One point that she seemed to be making was that Turkey’s democracy is currently making more progress, but there is still a long way to go. She also talked about Turkey’s multiple constitutions and that they wanted to join the European Union at one point and made many changes and amendments to how their government was run because of that. One interesting part of this presentation was the Q and A session when someone asked if governments always need to demonize a group (for example, Jewish people by Hitler and the Kurds in Turkey by the Turkish government) to keep power. Her answer was that this is almost always the case and can even be seen in the USA when government officials run based on fighting against some “threat” to the “real” people of our nation. She also mentioned that to keep a majority, it seems like you need to say that the “other” is going to rise up against everyone and that you are the only one who can keep them from taking over. That part of the presentation really opened up my eyes to how that just keeps occurring no matter how much we progress.
This event directly related to the topic of International Affairs since it was about the government in another country and partially how it compares to the government in the USA. I have learned a little bit about the Kurds in the past, so it related to that knowledge that I had. Other than that, this was all new information. This event could have been easier for me to digest if there were visuals along with all of the auditory information (like a powerpoint) because it is often difficult for me to process information by just hearing it anyway, even when it isn’t information that is outside of my understanding of the topic. I was still able to take away some information from the presentation, so it wasn’t all too much for me to take in. I can use this information to just have a better understanding of the world as a whole and how other governments and people’s lives are.
Academic Event Reflection
3 December 2020, Zoom, 7pm-8pm
This meeting was really informational for me. I first learned about the culture, tourism, and geography there, and then, they went into talking about conflict that has occurred and is occurring there, particularly in relation to Israel. It was wild to hear about all of the mistreatment of Palestinians that happens there and all of the barriers that exist for them to have more free lives. This relates to international affairs because what has been going on in Palestine is nearly the definition of what international affairs is. The conflict that exists there is international for the most part, so it relates perfectly to the topic of international affairs. Personally, I got a little upset hearing about what has been/ is going on there, and academically, I learned more about that country as a whole. This relates to a project that I did about the conflict between Israel and Palestine in my geography class during my senior year of high school. I also believe that we learned a little about this in our IA seminar in the autumn semester of 2019, but I am not 100% sure. After attending this meeting, I had a lot of questions about why all of this has happened since they mostly focused on the what of the situation. I wish that I had more background knowledge so I could have a more whole understanding of the subject.
Live, Laugh, Languages with IA 3rd and 4th years
Academic Event Reflection
9 November 2020, Zoom, 7pm-8pm
This event opened my eyes to the experiences that other Ohio State students have had learning other languages. The languages that were represented in this meeting were Korean, Arabic, Chinese, Russian, and a few more that were mentioned while people were answering questions about their experiences. I found their inspirations to learn the languages to be interesting to me because I usually assume that people that major in certain languages often major in them because of a certain career path, but it seemed like most of the speakers in this meeting were inspired to learn their particular languages because they wanted to interact with native speakers of that language in a more informal setting or because they had some prior experience learning that language through traveling or living in a country where it was spoken often. This made me want to take language classes at OSU, but unfortunately, even with taking five years, I will not have enough space in my schedule to add them to my schedule. This related to international affairs because it is important to know other about other languages and cultures to interact with people from other nations. I just gained more of a desire to learn languages, although I have been interested in learning more languages for many years now. This related to what I have learned in my language classes and just what I have learned about in the context of international affairs. After this event, I would like to know more about other language programs at OSU.
IA Community Meeting
Community Meeting Reflection
18 November 2020, Zoom, 6pm-7pm
Since this meeting was a community meeting and not an event that was purely dedicated to one organization, it is a little bit harder to summarize everything, but there were a couple of parts that stood out to me. In summary, there was a presentation about what has been going on with the LGBTQ+ community in Ukraine during wars. The presentation was done by Lesia Pagulich who focused mostly on feminist and LGBTQ+ activism as well as the homophobic legislation in Russia especially since there are no laws protecting them. This was helpful for me to learn more about what has been happening there, and it also related to what we learned about regarding this topic at an IA meeting last year. This meeting related to the topic of international affairs since it is going on in another nation but is still affected by what happens in the US. The question that was asked about how the US Supreme Court’s attempts to ban marriage equality would affect what happens in other countries such as Ukraine or Russia showed how what goes on in one country affects another, since the US is often the model for some countries’ legislation. Overall, I gained a better understanding of what has been going on in Ukraine. After attending the event, I would have just liked to know a little more about what people, in and out of Ukraine, can do to help out.
Crossing Borders ft. Dan Chung
Academic Event Reflection
19 November 2020, Zoom, 7pm-8pm
I went to this event because I realized that I have heard so much about North Korea and how awful it is there but have never dove into the information to find out what specifically is so bad and what all has been going on. I also have been interested in North and South Korea because of my sister’s obsession with K-Pop and K-Dramas and other forms of Korean entertainment and have heard a bit about how life is in South Korea through her. I have also watched the Interview, which Dan Chung actually mentioned in his presentation, which was a super strange way to portray a country (in my defense I was young and my mother wanted to watch it), especially a country that has so many awful things going on there. I also have been interested in North Korea since everyone started talking about them planning on going to war with us or something similar around five years ago. Before going to this event, that was basically all I knew about North Korea. After this event, my heart breaks for those who have grown up in North Korea and those who made the difficult journey out of that country.
During this event, he talked about a few specific people and the lives that they lived in North Korea which were filled with famine, death, and lies. He talked about how badly their government treats its people and how there is the facade of North Korea but also the facade of China and South Korea for those who get out of North Korea. He mentioned how hard it is for those who leave North Korea to learn how lives are lived outside of North Korea and how hard it is for them to find safe places to live and ways to make money. He also talked a lot about how common it is for North Korean refugees, especially women, to be sold into slavery in China and then live incredibly difficult lives in that. Honestly, hearing all of the stories was too much for my soul to take because I realized how great we really have it living in the US and being an OSU student. I realized how much I take for granted and how much more I could do to make the world a better place. To be honest, I just sobbed uncontrollably for the majority of this presentation because of how heavy this topic was and how awful it made me feel about complaining about the life I have here. I also really loved learning about how Crossing Borders is a Christian organization since I am also a Christian and love that many of these people are able to find hope in Jesus after having such awful experiences in their past.
This event directly related to International Affairs since our relations with North Korea are a big topic currently. This event also helped me understand so much more about how different people’s lives can be in totally different countries from ours. As mentioned in the beginning paragraph, this event related to all of my prior knowledge about North Korea. I would have loved to hear more about what Crossing Borders does, although I am not sure if my heart could have taken more (I was also having a really tough day with my mental health the day of the presentation so that played a role in being so emotional). If it would have been safe for people that Crossing Borders has served, I would have loved to hear from them, but I think that this was a fantastic presentation and am so grateful that I got to go to it.
Social Event Reflection
10 October 2020, Zoom/ Among Us app), 2pm-3pm
If I remember correctly, this event did not have a whole lot of people show up, but since Among Us has a 10 player limit, it worked out pretty well having less than ten people. I honestly love playing Among Us, so getting to play with people that I do not know very well but are in IA was a really fun experience. Similar to the virtual Pictionary event, there is not a whole lot to talk about since this event was social and not super related to International Affairs other than the fact that there were IA scholars there. Since Among Us is a game that does not allow much talking about anything other than who the imposter is, there was not much getting to know each other going on either. If I were to suggest something to improve this event (and most social events for that matter) I would have some time for the people at the event to get to know each other more and actually make connections since that is mostly what going to social events should be about: being social. I think that social events with people that do not know each other well are helpful for those going into careers where you work with different people, especially people that do not know each other very well, since the games that we play often require some communication to reach a common goal: winning (however that may be). I think that this event would be fun if we spent a little more time talking to each other, but it was still really fun for me since I love playing Among Us.
Current Events Catch-Up
Academic Event Reflection
25 October 2020, Zoom, 7-7:45pm
This event was really helpful for me since I haven’t seen a lot of news that is not related to the pandemic or the election recently. It was interesting to learn about what is going on in other parts of the world. I have heard about the protests in Nigeria, but all of the information was new for me other than that. I really liked how there was more information about positive things that have happened in the world like the news with the endangered frogs having 200 offspring. I think that the only way that this could have been better is if the story about the home sales made a little more sense to me since I am not an economics major. Other than that, this was a great meeting and was very informative. I really didn’t know much about the countries that were mentioned in the news stories, so it gave me more to think about regarding them as well.
Social Event Reflection
12 September 2020, Zoom/ skribbl.io, 1-2:30pm
This event was pretty small, but it was fun. I have been playing skribbl.io for a while now with people in other organizations that I am in, and it is great to lighten the mood. Since this event was a social event, and we were playing a game, there really is not much to say about it. It was nice to see some other International Affairs Scholars on zoom. Only three of us went to the meeting, with one of them being the person in charge of the event and another being me, so we didn’t talk about much. We basically just talked about how school was going. When we started playing the game, I asked my roommate to join since the game is more fun with more people. It was pretty fun, and we all had similar skill levels when it came to this game, so we all got a chance to win. I think that this event is really fun if there are many people who come so we can get to know each other outside of school and have some fun, but with only a few people, it was not as fun or social as it could have been. The only way that this game was related to IA was that we had to draw some countries on different occasions. This also related to what I have learned in other classes since I have had to read maps in the past, so that helped with my drawing skills. After this event, I hope that we could do it again but have more people show up and maybe add in some IA related words/ things to draw.
Q&A Session with Dr. Joyce Chen on Development Economics
8 April 2020, Zoom, 7-8pm
This event was not very relevant to my major/minors, but it taught me a lot about development economics. I did not have any prior knowledge about economics, let alone development economics, so it opened up my eyes to a whole other field. Because of this, it definitely changed my perspective on this topic. This related to the topic of International Affairs because her research takes place in another nation, and she talked about how she manages doing international research while living in the United States. I gained a lot of knowledge from this event, and it also sparked my interest in this topic. I really like how she gave us a rundown about her research; it really helped me to gain a greater understanding of what exactly is meant when talking about development economics. I found the questions in the Q&A session to be very interesting since I never would have thought of a lot of them due to my lack of knowledge on the subject. I really found it interesting to learn about how she sees development economics changing as time goes on and how she specifically manages conducting her research from Columbus. I also never really thought about the impact that COVID-19 has on the many different types of international research that was being conducted before it hit.