Four ways the Richmond World Affairs Council can be a resource for your student organization
By Mana Soroush, Journalist Intern for the Richmond World Affairs Council
Being a freshman at VCU planning to major in Political Science and not having had much previous exposure to influential personalities in the field of international affairs, I was so excited to find out that the Richmond World Affairs Council held monthly speaker events so close to campus, and better yet, that events were free for students!
I was even more excited when I found out that Trita Parsi, the founder of the National Iranian-American Council, was coming to speak about U.S.-Iran relations. As a dedicated member of Persian Club at VCU, I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to meet someone so influential within the Iranian-American community. It became apparent that the Richmond World Affairs Council served as a very useful resource for myself and my student organization. Now, being a rising senior and a Journalist Intern for the Richmond World Affairs Council, I thought I’d share how we can be a resource for your student organization.
- Raising Awareness
Being a leader for Persian Club at VCU, I know what it’s like to run a student organization for a minority community. Whether it be a minority cultural, ethnic, or religious community, any organization that represents these types of communities should use any resources available to them to help raise awareness.
“We believe it is important to be aware of the problems going on in the world regarding the Turkic community and to raise awareness regarding these problems. Our organization has been organizing and holding events and collaborating with organizations such as Uyghur Student Association to raise awareness and donations in helping the Turkic population around the world.” – Elmira Karimi, Treasurer for Turkish Student Association at VCU
Have an idea on what the Richmond World Affairs Council should focus on at a future event? Reach out to us at www.richmondworldaffairs.org/contact/.
- Networking Opportunities
As college students who are eventually going to be seeking jobs post-graduation, it’s imperative that we pursue any networking opportunities that we can find. The Richmond World Affairs Council brings influential personalities within the field of foreign affairs right to our campus, with an opportunity to speak with them directly.
“By coming in direct contact with influential personalities, it helps community members understand where people stand when it comes to specific issues and an idea of what direction the world might be moving in.” – Mariya Ali, Education Chair for Muslim Student Assocation at VCU
“Students would most likely take advantage of the professional opportunities and be able to learn directly from key players in their designated fields.” – Amie Rodriguez, Membership/Alumni Relations Chair for Filipino Americans Coming Together at VCU
“Influential personalities deemed educated in international affairs have the capacity to bring the characteristic qualities of each nation to light while putting in perspective that despite tensions and treaties, all are after the same goal of creating something better.” – Ata McZara, President of Persian Club at VCU
- A space for open dialogue
In our current polarized political climate, it can seem impossible to find a space where people can participate in an open and peaceful dialogue. The Richmond World Affairs Council provides this type of space, where we can learn about the various perspectives and backgrounds that people bring. At the end of every monthly speaker event, there is a Q&A session in which audience members are able to ask the speaker any question that they would like. Through this, you can become part of the conversation!
“The human population is categorized into so many groups but we can never know everything about every group. A lot of what people know about these groups comes from biased sites/people. Having these events educates people on a different perspective and gives a more well rounded education on the topic, which is something that we don’t always have access to.” – Zobia Nayyar, President of Pakistani Student Association at VCU
As a leader of Persian Club at VCU I think it is imperative that we provide a space for both Iranian Americans and non-Iranian Americans to create what I can only describe as an environment of peaceful dialogue. Specifically, the emergence of continuing sanctions on Iran and the consequences of those sanctions, is an example of certain points of discussion. This is a dialogue we do not seem to be getting in our polarizing climate today.” – Anita Zia, Secretary of Persian Club at VCU
“The current political climate just proves that now more than ever we need to join together as a community to help one another.” – Rosha Chowdury, President of Bangladeshi Student Organization at VCU
“I think the current political climate demonstrates a NEED to incorporate more international perspectives into local communities.” – Amie Rodriguez, Membership/Alumni Relations Chair for Filipino Americans Coming Together at VCU
- Internship Opportunities
Just as I was lucky enough to become a part of the Richmond World Affairs Council’s staff, so can you! The Council regularly seeks students who are passionate and dedicated to the field of foreign affairs to further their mission. The two main internship positions include Journalist Interns and Student Ambassadors. Not only are these opportunities so close to campus, but you can potentially receive class credit for them as well (upon agreement with your academic advisor).
“Having an unbiased source of education, culture, and networking could transform Richmond into an international network on par with Washington D.C.” – Amie Rodriguez, Membership/Alumni Relations Chair for Filipino Americans Coming Together at VCU
“I think with the election of individuals such as Illhan Omar, and Rashida Talib shows that different viewpoints and backgrounds can provide a more multifaceted approach to lawmaking and politics.” – Mariya Ali, Education Chair for Muslim Student Association at VCU