Taking a Front-Row Seat on Washington Political Scene

1/12/2010

Students questioned national political leaders on C-SPAN as they learned about policymaking from political and media leaders through “Inside Washington 2010,” an academic seminar offered by The Washington Center during the first two weeks of January. 

Government Professor Teri Fair guided the 43 Suffolk University students who participated in the seminar, which offered a hands-on learning environment in Washington D.C.

At that same time, four Suffolk students and Government professor Dr. Robert Laffey, a Middle Eastern scholar, took part in the Camp David III Simulations, also in Washington.

Complex process

“‘Inside Washington 2010’ has offered Suffolk students a phenomenal opportunity to engage with political insiders and learn about the complexities of the political process,” said Fair. 

Through daily lectures at George Washington University, site visits, tours, and special events, the academic seminar provided students an opportunity to witness the impact of the political process on public policy. 

Focus on legislative process & media impact

During the first week of “Inside Washington 2010,” focused on “Congress and the Obama Presidency,” speakers discussed the causes and effect of polarization and its impact on the legislative process.  They analyzed specific legislation and discussed the interaction between party leaders in Congress and President Barack Obama.

The second week focused on “Politics and the Media” and included presentations from journalists, former press secretaries, and academics. Students heard former Green Party Presidential nominee Ralph Nader speak at The National Press Club.

“Our students fully explored what Washington has to offer.  This is a very active and self-motivated group, and they have done everything they can to take advantage of this wonderful experience, including handing out their resumes in hopes of landing a summer internship here.”  

C-SPAN features Suffolk students

Taped recordings of select sessions were televised on C-SPAN and captured several Suffolk students questioning speakers such as Admiral Mike Mullen, current chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Juan Zarate, former deputy assistant to the president and deputy national security adviser for combating terrorism, who is now senior adviser for the Center for Strategic & International Studies in Washington. 

Participating students keep a journal and prepare a book review, in addition to writing essays about their experiences in Washington.  They also are graded on their participation and receive academic credit for their involvement during “Inside Washington 2010.”

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