Students in the Politics and Government Department at Illinois State University are able to embark on a number of different trips, both to national and international locations. Below you will find descriptions and links to highlights of just a couple of such trips from recent years:
Professor Carlos A. Parodi takes approximately fifteen students from the Department of Politics and Government to spend a month in Lima, Peru as participants in the First International Maria Elena Moyano Seminar on Democracy and Human Rights in Peru. In the past, in addition to attending the seminar, students have witnessed the first Peruvian National election since the resignation of President Alberto Fujimori. Students came away with a greater understanding of the specter of human rights abuses and corruption which had cast a pall over the country since the early 1990’s. In light of this and atrocities committed by the Shining Path during this time period, and despite tense relations with the United States, students experienced firsthand the mood in Peru as as it emerged from a tragic period in its long history.
The Maria Elena Moyano seminar is a collaborative effort between Illinois State University, Universidad del Pacifico (UP), and CEAPAZ -- Center for Peace Studies and Action (Centro de Estudios y Acción para la Paz) and is conducted in Lima, Peru. The Seminar is in memory of and in tribute to Mrs. Moyanoa Peruvian social fighter and vocal feminist leader, who was assassinated in Lima, Peru by a Shining Path death squad on February 15, 1992, at the age of 33. The seminar introduces students to the political, economic, and social areas of modern Peru and provides them with a chance to experience the cultures and see what has been accomplished in the field of human rights, especially in the wake of the losses suffered as a result of the Shining Path and the regime of Alberto Fujimori during the late 1980’s and throughout the 1990’s.
The Seminar features lectures, discussions, workshops, and actual participation in ongoing human rights projects in order to give the students first hand experience. The students groups work with many leaders in the fields of human rights, social justice, poverty, violence, and youth programs. Students take classes from Monday through Thursday to discuss and debate current issues and policies focusing on a variety of relevant topics. Field trips are scheduled to introduce the students to local governments, historic and cultural sites to help the students gain a greater understanding of the unique history of Peru, how it developed, and how it subsequently affects modern Peruvian society.
The goals of this program are to:
The classes were taught by professors of the Universidad del Pacífico, Centro de Estudios y Acción para la Paz (CEAPAZ- Center for Peace Studies and Action), and Dr. Carlos Parodi, the ISU Faculty Director of this program. Universidad del Pacífico has been ranked as the most prestigious higher education institution in its fields of specialization in Peru. CEAPAZ is a civic association working for peace, human rights and democracy in Peru. Students participating in the program have been awarded $500 and $1,000 scholarships by the Political Science department to help defray costs.
Students have been able to participate in several human rights projects such as Youth Programs of Violence Treatment and Prevention, Educational Programs for Women and Children, Community Development project at Cerro El Pino, Villa El Salvador and Municipalidad de Ate, as well as debates with students from UP and PUCP Catholic University, discussion with the head of Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and National Coordinator for Human Rights, and consideration of the future of US/Peru relations.
During the summer of 2006, three students spent time researching, volunteering, and witnessing the "facts on the ground" in Palestine. Dana Van De Walker, graduate student, has been in Bethlehem, Palestine since the end of May and will remain there for a year volunteering as an English translator and editor for the independent media organization Palestine News Network.
Tanya Austin, graduate student, was in Palestine for the third time this summer for three months. She was guest lecturing at Bethlehem University, while conducting research for her master's thesis. Vanda Rajcan, undergraduate student, spent two months in Bethlehem, Palestine witnessing the facts on the ground. The three have done extensive travel within both Israel and Palestine including the cities of Haifa, Nazareth, Tiberias, Jerusalem, Ramallah, Hebron, Jericho, multiple refugee camps, and of course Bethlehem.
They have seen the impact of The Wall, land confiscation, and the growing size of illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank. Tanya and Dana have witnessed first hand the tragedy resulting from the war between Hezbollah and Israel, as refugees poor into Bethlehem hotels from Haifa, Nazareth, and Tiberias. They have also experienced the hospitality shown to these refugees and visitors by the population of Bethlehem.