George Mason Students Hobnob with U.N. Ambassadors

Posted: November 19, 1999 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

Several students in Professor Sonja Taylor’s International Organizations and Global Issues class are traveling to New York today to meet some of the United Nations (U.N.) ambassadors with whom they have been discussing issues all semester. Using one of the video conference classrooms in Science and Technology I, the class meets once a week with a panel of ambassadors recruited by the course’s coteacher, Ahmad Kamal, Pakistan’s ambassador to the U.N. Each panel addresses a topic in terms of its global significance; subjects include trade, security, international law, the environment, and, quite appropriately, telecommunications.

The class, designated GOVT 444 and NCLC 475, offers undergraduate students an unusual opportunity to interact with leading decision makers in the international community. As if they were in the same room, the students ask questions directly, and Ambassador Kamal can manipulate the camera here to focus on one student or another.

In the future, such classes could be combined with courses at other universities, even overseas. Taylor, an adjunct professor in Public and International Affairs, also hopes to develop artifacts, such as captured video of the class in action, that the ambassadors involved in the program could show to their own missions and governments.

In New York, the students also will tour the U.N. and meet at least one of the ambassadors from the United States Mission to the United Nations. For more information about the course, see the class website.

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