December 9, 2014 at 9:21 am

2 Political Science Students to Visit Israel with Caravan for Democracy

By Rachel Sayers
From Compass

Welcoming in the New Year will be a bit different this year for Alexis Chambers and Alexis Apparicio, two Ohio University Political Science students who have been chosen to visit Israel as part of the Jewish National Fund’s Caravan for Democracy.

The trip, which will take place Dec. 27 to Jan. 7, will allow Chambers, Apparicio, and 28 other college students to explore Israel’s diverse political culture. The group will travel across Israel meeting political, cultural, and community leaders, in addition to some general sightseeing. Ohio University is the only school to have two students enrolled in the program during the same year.

A Chance to Talk to People ‘Who Live That Experience’

Chambers, who is a senior majoring in Political Science and African American Studies with a diversity certificate, is excited most by the opportunity to be given a genuine cultural experience.

Dome of the Rock Mosque“One of the things I would really like to know is the culture of the people,” Chambers said. “You always hear about the media’s perception of the country, or the media’s perception of the government, or the people who live there. You never actually get the real, true side unless you actually have been there, and been immersed in the culture, and given the chance to talk to people who live there and live that experience every single day. I’m excited to be getting to the root, the primary source.”

‘At Any Moment It Can, and Will, Affect Us’

Apparicio, also a sophomore majoring in Political Science and African American Studies with a diversity certificate, agrees, adding her view on the importance Israel plays in global politics.

“I would really just like to get a better understanding of Israel, their side of the story as far as Middle-Eastern conflicts go, because I have a very limited understanding,” Apparicio said. “I know how important it is, especially in today’s society to have that understanding of, not just Israel, but any other country that is our ally, or going through conflict right now, because at any moment it can, and will, affect us in some way.”

Winsome Chunnu-Brayda, associate director of the Multicultural Center, has high hopes for the students’ trip.

“I think it’s a wonderful opportunity for our students to go to Israel and see firsthand what’s going on,” Chunnu-Brayda said. “They’re both excellent students and very politically active, which is a reason why I really encouraged them to go.”

As a requirement for the trip, both Chambers and Apparicio must conduct a follow-up presentation to their trip once they return to campus.

“Whether it be hosting a speaker or a talk about their experience or something that interested them, or writing a paper on their experience, they will be required to reflect upon their visit to Israel,” said Jemma Marens, who represents the Jewish National Fund at Ohio University.

It is this portion of the trip, where the students are able to share what they’ve learned, that Chunnu-Brayda looks forward to most.

“Both Alexis Chambers and Alexis Apparicio have a broad reach within the multicultural community, so students will be excited to hear about their trip when they return,” Chunnu-Brayda said. “Hopefully this will give insight to other students about the region, as well as a reason to apply in the future.”

Information on the student’s follow-up presentations will be available at the start of spring semester.

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