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CCU students travel to ISFiT Conference in Norway to learn about global migration

March 5, 2019
CCU students traveled to Norway in February for an international conference. They stand here outside the Nidaros Cathedral.CCU students had the chance to meet and network with college students from around the globe at the ISFiT Conference in February.The conference split into different groups with different themes, ensuring students of different nationalities had time to meet and engage with each other.

Eight Coastal Carolina University students enrolled in a course titled “Global Perspectives: Migration” attended the 2019 International Student Festival in Trondheim (ISFiT) in Norway from Feb. 7-17.

This year’s event brought together about 500 students from 145 countries to deliberate on the issue of global migration through workshops and plenary sessions amid other cultural events culminating in the awarding of the Student Peace Prize.

Students listened, debated and conversed with speakers like Tawakkol Karman, the Yemeni human rights activist and 2011 Nobel Peace Prize winner. They also heard from a refugee group about life in a refugee camp and participated in a digital simulation of a refugee camp.

“Meeting with individuals from conflict-affected areas changed my perception of countries that I may have had unintentional biases toward,” said Madison Scholar, an intelligence and national security studies major. “They also learned a lot from me, and now I have friends from all over the world, people who I feel closer with than I ever expected.”

While encountering the Norwegian winter in Trondheim, the CCU students took part in a snow day featuring many of Norway’s celebrated winter games, enjoyed the hospitality of being a guest in a Norwegian home, and visited the 11th century Nidaros Cathedral built over the burial site of King Olav II, who became St. Olav, the patron saint of Norway.

Students who participated are: intelligence and national security studies majors Morgan-Mckay Hoppman, Eliecer Fernandez, Jeffrey Hutchins, Scholar and Caitlyn Fegett; public health major Sophie Sumpter; and political science majors Lukas Little and Lendon Little.

The professors for this course are Richard Aidoo, associate professor of politics and assistant dean of the Edwards College of Humanities and Fine Arts, and Mariam Dekanozishvili, assistant professor of politics. Aidoo participated in the conference himself when he was in college.

“This year’s theme of global migration represents one of the most complex and politically charged issues of our time, and future diplomats and policymakers will have to develop the resolve to address such an issue. ISFiT continues to be one of the unique global platforms for achieving such a task,” said Aidoo.

During his opening remarks, Tyler Stewart, president of ISFiT 2019, stressed that “the challenges associated with migration … are not problems that are going to solve themselves or to disappear overnight, and we can’t leave it to politicians to solve these problems for us. Students need to take an active role in deciding the future of their countries.”

The students attended different workshops related to the overall conference theme of global migration, and those topics ranged from “Global Food” to “Brain Drain/Brain Gain.” Each workshop was attended by 25 to 30 students from different countries.

CCU students have been participating in this biannual global event since 2013 as part of their studies and have developed lifetime friendships around the world.

“I met students from Russia, Serbia, Poland, Zambia, Uzbekistan, Tunisia, Bolivia, Mexico and many other countries,” said Lukas Little. “Interacting with them helped me understand how crucial it is to have an open mind on policies, opinions and cultural differences.”

Additional information:

CCU students attend International Student Festival in Norway in 2017