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Featured Campus Coordinator: Interview with Sam Reznik


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Date: 01/20/2009 Location: Washngton, DC Description: Sam Reznik, 2008-2010 Foreign Affairs Campus Coordinator, in front of the U.S. Capitol Building during the President Barack Obama's inauguration. © State Dept Image Sam Reznik, 2008-2010 Foreign Affairs Campus Coordinator, in front of the U.S. Capitol Building during President Barack Obama's inauguration.
Date: 05/01/2009 Location: Atlanta, GA Description: Sam Reznik(far right), 2008-2010 Foreign Affairs Campus Coordinator, with fellow Clark University Harrington Fellows (L to R Drew Silverman, Amanda Gregoire, and Janette Ekanem) in the State Department's Main State Lobby prior to former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's farewell speech.  © State Dept Image Sam Reznik (far right), 2008-2010 Foreign Affairs Campus Coordinator, with fellow Clark University Harrington Fellows (L to R Drew Silverman, Amanda Gregoire, and Janette Ekanem) in the State Department’s Main State Lobby prior to former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's farewell speech. 

Q:  Why did you decide to participate in the Foreign Affairs Campus Coordinator Program?

A:  Any student or alumni of Clark University can attest to the passion, desire, and responsibility Clarkies encompass toward world affairs. By participating in the Foreign Affairs Campus Coordinator Program, I wanted to expose Clark and the local community of Worcester, MA to the intricacies of the State Department. Additionally, I wanted Clark and the Worcester community to be able to take advantage of this opportunity to learn from various State Department officials on an array of pressing foreign affair issues.

 

Q:  How did the State Department and your internship prepare you for the program?

A:  The Bureau of Public Affairs prepared all Campus Coordinators by holding several training sessions where State Department officials lectured on a variety of topics including public outreach, collaborating within the structures of the State Department, public speaking, and the State Department’s mission statement. Moreover, by connecting students to desired speakers and State Department officials, the Public Affairs Bureau is instrumental to the Campus Coordinator program.

 

My summer internship with the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor in the Office of the Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism exposed me to the inner workings of the State Department. Tasks ranging from meeting with foreign diplomats and participating in Bureau staff meetings to engaging with the Special Envoy on a daily basis bestowed upon me the confidence and knowledge to promote the State Department on my campus.

 

Q:  How do you think the program benefited your campus as a whole?

A:  My campus has benefited dramatically from the Campus Coordinator program. Through the program, Clark has hosted key State Department officials such as Ambassador J. Christian Kennedy, Special Envoy for Holocaust Issues, as well as Emily Bruno, an Officer in the Sudan Programs Group. These programs educated and informed Clark’s campus and local community members on critical foreign affairs issues and provided the students and the Clark community with a unique opportunity to gain an inside perspective on these issues directly from important State Department officials. Additionally, Clark University’s student body contains a large number of international students from all around the globe; these students are particularly interested in learning about how U.S. foreign policy is formulated within the State Department.

 

Q:  Do any stories from your experience as a Foreign Affairs Campus Coordinator stand out?

A:  Clark University’s Strassler Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies is the only institution that offers a Ph.D and an undergraduate concentration in Holocaust History and Genocide Studies. Therefore, when I met a fellow intern (and Campus Coordinator) Kristi Bansemer who was working in the Holocaust Office I knew that a partnership was in the making. Through Kristi, I got in touch with Ambassador J. Christian Kennedy, Special Envoy for Holocaust Issues, and a few months later in February 2009, Ambassador Kennedy weathered a snowstorm to spend a day at Clark! He addressed students and community members on pertinent issues confronting his office, such as systematic approaches for compensation rights, property restitution, Prague Conference on Holocaust Era Assets, and Holocaust education. This was a great opportunity for all participants to hear from a State Department Special Envoy, and a great experience for me to facilitate the materialization of this event.

 

Q:  What did you gain from being a Foreign Affairs Campus Coordinator?
A:  Being a Campus Coordinator allowed me to sharpen and cultivate my organizational skills and hone my ability to bring about collaboration amongst diverse student groups, educational departments, and various State Department bureaus. Additionally, it has provided me with a strong network of individuals with whom I can seek out if necessary. However, the biggest positive for me is in providing a service which was so educational and enhancing to my community in the arena of current global affairs.

 

Q: How do you think this program furthers the mission of the State Department?

A:  The State Department’s mission reads, “Create a more secure, democratic, and prosperous world for the benefit of the American people and the international community.” The essence of the Foreign Affairs Campus Coordinator Program strongly correlates with this mission. The crux of this program revolves around educating America’s youth on (a) pertinent foreign policy issues, (b) pressing global affairs and (c) the State Department’s response to these issues and affairs. Gaining alternative perspectives on foreign policy helps establish a well-balanced ideological platform with which individuals can learn from experts about diverse cultures. Additionally, they can learn how cultural barriers manifest conflict that in turn exacerbates and instigates global issues, which result in the creation of foreign policy.

By implementing a program designed to enlighten and orient America’s next generation on the operation and intricacies of global policy, the Campus Coordinator Program successfully develops and nurtures a secure, more democratic, and prosperous society in our country and eventually, in the world. Today’s engaged and informed college students should feel a responsibility to educate their peers and colleagues on worldly concerns; this program endows future leaders them with a sense of responsibility and empowers them to inspire others to become more informed and engaged citizens.

 


Sam Reznik is from Encino, California and received a B.A. (magna cum laude) in Government & International Relations with concentrations in Urban Development & Social Change and Law & Society from Clark University in May of 2009. Currently, Sam is enrolled in an Accelerated Masters program at Clark University where he is expected to receive his M.A. in Community Development & Planning in May of 2010. During the summer of 2008, Sam interned with the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor in the Office of the Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism. Sam enjoys Washington, D.C. politics as he has also worked on Capitol Hill for California lawmakers Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Congressman Henry A. Waxman (D-CA). In the near future, Sam hopes to attend law school and travel the world.



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