Roughly two weeks ago, I was lucky enough to be permitted to attend the Collegiate Presidential Inaugural Conference in Washington D.C. This was essentially a summit of college-level students who had excelled in some facet of academics and received a nomination to attend. From there, they were successfully selected and accepted the invitation to the conference.
From what I saw, there were almost a thousand people there. Their majors spanned from Art to Restaurant Management, from Engineering to Medical and from Political Science to Biology. The students themselves hailed from well over forty countries, and were all brimming with excitement at the opportunity to experience and take part in a major part of American history.
Of the people I met and interacted with, I was the only military academy student, so people were naturally curious. I spent a lot of time in the networking sessions explaining what I will do after I graduate, and even what I am doing now—until I graduate. And then there were the questions, and boy did I answer a multitude of them. The questions ranged from “What is the Coast Guard Academy?” to “Where does the Coast Guard operate?” and “What made you interested in being in the military?”
I was able to listen to Mary Matalin, James Carville, Jeb Bush, Reverend Jesse Jackson and Professor Jonathan Turley speak. I even got to ask a question to Jonathan Turley relating to the thesis that I wrote last year for Constitutional Law. Regardless of a person’s political orientation, I know I speak for everyone present when I say that the speakers’ messages could be identified with by anyone. I think I also speak for everyone there when I say that the speakers did an outstanding job identifying with their audience and keeping everyone in tune and interested in what they had to say. A great example of this was found when Reverend Jackson had everyone stand up and yell “I. I Am. I Am Somebody.” He then continued on with the repeating after him chant that made the points that it was my generation’s job to end the hate; to bridge the gaps between many of the cultures and countries who feel that they have been outcast, alienated or otherwise. And though I didn’t agree with everything he said (gun bans…) I still think he made many great points. Part of the problems our world faces stem from the alienation and ostracizing of cultures different than our own. The fact of the matter is that international relations will be the key to solving the problems faced by our nations and generations as we mature.
Collegiate Presidential Inaugural Conference (Continued)
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