The Student News Site of University of Nebraska at Kearney

The Antelope

The Antelope

The Antelope

Big world problems in small town USA

Dr. Jessica Graybill and Dr. Diane Hirshberg talk about education and community in the Arctic to students as part of last week’s World Affairs conference.

World Affairs Committee brings experts from around the world to speak on major global issues

Alana Kellen

Last Monday and Tuesday, the UNK World Affairs Committee worked to bring the James E. Smith Midwest Conference on World Affairs to Kearney. The program came to discuss the current issues that plague the world in effort to spark activism in students.

Each year, the conference comes back to Kearney with updated topics. The conference first arrived at Kearney’s campus, then Kearney State College, in 1964. Twenty-one foreign delegates arrived on campus with the goal to “awaken and properly channel the interest of our future leaders in education in the search for an understanding of the issues facing the peoples of the world.” Today, the same goals remain the same.

“We have representatives from many countries and from all over the world,” Sonja Bickford, a planning executive for the UNK World Affairs Committee said. “From Europe, to Asia, Africa, South and Central America as well as different parts of the United States, such as Alaska and New York”

When asked why the conference came to UNK, Bickford responded back with, “why not?”

“Kearney as I usually describe it, is in the middle of the United States. 1,700 miles to each coast- it is a perfect place as any,” Bickford said. “It gives people invited a chance to see Nebraska and the local Kearney and UNK community an opportunity to meet and hear about people from all over the world.”

As the conference’s main goal is to push the next generations to act towards making a difference, the importance of speaking with students on college campuses is a very important aspect to the conference. Many students have not had the chance to really get out in the world and experience all the world problems hands on.

“Not every student has an opportunity to travel; however, by bringing in people from all over the United States and the world- students are given a chance to meet and engage with people from various backgrounds and sectors,” Bickford said. “This is an important part for increasing our awareness and knowledge of issues and topics affecting the world here and abroad and vice versa.”

The audience was encouraged to ask questions and meet with the presenters after the presentations. After the conference, Bickford hopes that through their connections with others of similar interests and by hearing examples from others, the audience can gain confidence and encourage them to take actions of their own.

“For people who want to take action on these issues, start by identifying a problem or issue you are passionate about,” Bickford said. “Connect with a cause or someone who has initiated an effort for the cause or issue that you wish to solve or help.”

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Antelope

Your donation will support the student journalists of University of Nebraska at Kearney . Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Antelope

Comments (0)

All The Antelope Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *