On Friday, December 1st, the brand new Bullis course ‘Contemporary Global Issues’, took a trip to the World Affairs Council in Washington D.C.
The day started off on a short yellow bus with the cool air giving the metallic interior a slight chill as the vehicle navigated the morning traffic on its way towards D.C. The bus ride was long and slow, and we didn’t arrive until an hour after our departure. The bus came to a stop outside the Thurgood Marshall community center, where we were greeted at the door and quickly directed down the hallway.
Images of influential black leaders and sculptures dedicated to them lined the walls as we approached the council room. When we crossed the threshold, we were greeted by a packed room of students from various schools- seventeen tables total.
After we entered the room, one more class load of students followed us, and the council began. We started the day with a simple exercise, in which we analyzed political cartoons relating to North Korea. This gave us the chance to converse with the students at our tables. After the discussion, we listened to two different speakers. The first one, Joseph DeTrani, was a former participant in the six party talks , and the other was a South Korean reporter named Soojin Park.
Both speakers told their stories, what they experienced, and how they view North Korea as a whole. Both presentations were extremely educational and helped students gain a better understanding of North Korea, especially the people. They both made the point that North Korean people are not exactly like they are portrayed in the media. They aren’t all starving for instance. The speakers portrayed the human aspect of their situation. Also, while many of the people want reunification, it is not in the best interest of the North Korean government, who wants to retain its power. With regard to Nuclear weapons, the government and the people to a certain degree think that they will keep the country safe.
After lunch, one final speaker came on stage to talk to us, a professor from John Hopkins University. She is an expert on North Korean relations, and delivered a well thought out Powerpoint to close the day. The students left feeling more informed about North Korea, and after saying goodbye to students from other schools, each class returned to their respective institutions.