Day in the Life: Symposium host shares experiences

Tamar Schuhendler MOLLY KIEFER/PIONEER LOG

By EMMA GRILLO///Features Editor

Once a year in early April some of the greatest minds in International Affairs converge on the Lewis & Clark campus to debate and share ideas at the oldest student-run symposium in the United States. The International Affairs Symposium is an enormous event, bringing together students, community members and intellectual minds from all over the country.

Behind the scenes of this symposium is a massive amount of student volunteers, working tirelessly to make sure that the symposium goes off without a hitch. The student co-chairs and student steering committee are in charge of putting together the symposium and creating a topic for the symposium to cover.

Yet Tamar Shuhendler ’17 did not apply to be a co-chair or on the steering committee this year. Instead, Shuhendler was a speaker host at this year’s symposium, in charge of keeping track of David Ignatius, one of the speakers at this year’s keynote debate on April 4.

“Being a host you get a one on one experience,” said Shuhendler, who was on the steering committee last year.

“Last year when I got to see all of the speakers and get to know them it was really exciting just to meet those people and be able to talk to them and see what their lives were like,” said Shuhendler.

Ignatius is a journalist and novelist, as well as an associate editor and columnist at the Washington Post. When Ignatius arrived in Portland, Shuhendler began her hosting duties, driving him from his hotel to campus and helping him feel situated in Portland.

“It’s mostly just driving them around and making them feel comfortable and getting anything they might need … just making their life here more easier and making them feel welcome,” said Shuhendler.

Shuhendler greatly enjoyed her time with Ignatius, and at the time of interview was looking forward to seeing him debate Max Boot in a keynote entitled “On the Horizon: Charting the Next Steps in Combating ISIS.”

“I’m just excited to hear his perspective and then hear that be challenged,” said Shuhendler about the keynote presentation.

“Being able to have those views expressed on our campus and views that maybe aren’t that popular is really important just so we can widen our perspective and strengthen our own opinions,” said Shuhendler. “It’s an awesome way for the IA department to feel like more of a community.”

The symposium is now over, but the discussions and ideas it brought to campus have not left. For weeks to come, students and faculty will debate and process what they learned, and bring the topics of the symposium into their classroom.

As a host, Shuhendler took away more than just the ideas debated.

“You just get to hang out with somebody and see what they do and make a really cool connection,” Shuhendler said with a smile.

 

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