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Students chosen to attend global gathering in China

Two students, Anne Orenstein ‘14 and Stefanie Cilmi ‘13, have been selected to attend the World Youth Leaders Forum in China this July.

The focus of the forum is “Toward a World without Poverty and Inequality.”

Orenstein, a marketing major, will present a paper about the importance of recognizing cultural diversity when implementing education and sustainable development. Cilmi, a political science major, will present a poster on “A Comparative Study: Chinese and American Perception of Government.”

The two students and other candidates were chosen after submitting abstracts about a presentation area of focus. Subtheme options were economics, culture and social structure.

“Inquiry-based learning focusing on global issues is a signature of Lehigh’s education,” said Mohamed S. EL-Aasser, vice president for international affairs. “Anne’s and Stephanie’s success affirms the power of this learning approach. We are proud of their achievements.”

A sensitivity to differences

Cilmi is currently studying abroad in Beijing and conducting research for her poster and her senior thesis. Cilmi is holding discussions with Chinese students to learn their perceptions of American government, and with American students to learn their perceptions of Chinese government.

Orenstein’s thesis was inspired by a project she is completing for ES397: Environmental Study, Theory and Practice. She is designing a curriculum for sustainable development in teaching institutions.

“You can’t go to different places and think it’s the same all over the world,” Orenstein says. “You can’t teach someone in Kenya about overconsumption, because that is not a problem they are facing right now. They are facing things like government corruption and water crisis and unsustainable farming crisis.”

Cilmi says her poster’s focus was inspired by the gap that exists between American and Chinese students due to their lack of understanding and knowledge of the differences that exist between the two countries.

“In order for countries to successfully interact diplomatically, understanding is crucial,” she says. “I hope through my study and others like it the next generation of American and Chinese leaders can begin to have a greater appreciation and understanding of each country and its political system.”

Orenstein and Cilmi are excited to be chosen to attend the World Youth Leaders forum, which will be held July 11-13 at The Chinese University of Hong Kong in July.

“I didn’t think I could get picked to go to China,” says Orenstein.

The students were nominated by Bill Hunter, who heads up the Lehigh University-United Nations Partnership.

Eighty students have been chosen to attend the World Youth Leaders forum. This is the second annual forum, and the first time Lehigh has nominated students to attend the event.


Story by Mara Kievit

Posted on Wednesday, March 07, 2012

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