This summer’s international programs in Prague, Greece and Hong Kong welcomed a total of 219 students from 65 countries. Students overseas engaged in cross-cultural exchange, explored the historic cities where the institutes were held and attended classes with experts in economics, politics and conflict resolution.
ASIA INSTITUTE FOR POLITICAL ECONOMY
2012 marked the 10th anniversary of AIPE. Special events in honor of the milestone were held in conjunction with the program, bringing students and over 30 alumni together for networking receptions and educational activities. A highlight of the reunion was a career development panel that featured alumni working in the financial industry. Panelists included Alice Cui (AIPE 06), William Lui (AIPE 05), Cherry Wen (AIPE 05) and Peter Yao (AIPE 02).
In addition to interacting with alumni, students took courses that explored the ideas of great economic thinkers and philosophers such as Alexis de Tocqueville, Friedrich Hayek, Hernando de Soto and Milton Friedman. This summer TFAS welcomed a new professor, William Ruger of Texas State University San Marco, who taught American studies and political philosophy. Returning for a seventh year was veteran TFAS professor Andrew Morriss of the University of Alabama School of Law who taught economics.
AIPE student Okka Maung of Myanmar said he enjoyed the entire AIPE experience and was thrilled to have studied famous economists such as Hayek, whom he proclaimed to be “the greatest man in economics.” Maung says he hopes to follow up on his AIPE studies by attending a TFAS program in Washington in the future.
Outside of the classroom students worked on group projects related to their in-class debates and discussions on international trade and business. As part of their projects, students were asked to meet with the owners of several businesses and report back on their findings. To complement their studies students also attended guest lectures, which included a discussion with the president of the American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong Richard Vuylsteke.
“I experienced new concepts and ideas in economics and global trade with prestigious professors and guest lecturers as well as discussed many cultural issues with outstanding students from different parts of the world,” said Giang Bui, who added that she now looks forward to relaying what she learned at AIPE to the young people in her home country of Vietnam.
AMERICAN INSTITUTE ON POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC SYSTEMS
This year’s AIPES program welcomed students from the U.S. and Central and Eastern Europe to Charles University in Prague. Students took courses on politics and economics, attended guest lectures and panel discussions and learned about the many different cultures represented by the students.
According to Salome Ugrekhelidze of the Republic of Georgia, AIPES was both challenging and interesting and very different from his home university. “AIPES is a chance to learn more about the U.S. and a chance to destroy stereotypes one may have about some countries,” he said. “During AIPES you become the best of the best!”
This summer professors Roger Pilon of the Cato Institute and Kurt Rotthoff of Seton Hall University returned to AIPES to lead the academic components of the program. Students were also treated to a career panel with alumni from the United States, the Czech Republic, Lebanon and Slovakia. The panel included Vlad Vano (AIPES 99), chief analyst at Volksbank Slovensko, Paul Glader (IPJ 99, AIPES 00), editor and co-founder of Wired Academic LLC, Pavel Hrbek (AIPES 06), investment banker at UniCredit Bank, and Sandra Issa (AIPES 09), regional sales manager for France and M.E.A. at Quick Service Restaurants.
New in 2012 was AIPES Community Service Day held on July 14. On this day AIPES students, alumni and staff took a break from their work and studies to travel to an orphanage just outside of Prague. The group cleaned and painted the dormitory and orphanage grounds and played football with some of the children.
The summer came to a close on July 24 with remarks by Latvian Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis, the 20th consecutive recipient of the Vašek and Anna Maria Polák Award. TFAS presents the award each summer during the AIPES commencement ceremony to a former or current head of state of a European nation.
“For the people of AIPES it’s not enough to live an average life,” said AIPES student Ulyana Shtybel of the Ukraine. “These people were born to make a difference. AIPES is the meeting place to explore American political and economic principles and apply them within their home countries. AIPES is a great inspiration and it is an honor to now be considered a respected AIPES Alumna.”
INTERNATIONAL INSTITUTE FOR POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC STUDIES
The 2012 IIPES program welcomed students to the island of Crete in Greece to explore major political, economic and cultural issues important to the Eastern Mediterranean region.
Students completed coursework with seasoned IIPES professors Michael Collins, who lectured on “The Good Society,” and Tony Sullivan, who taught intellectual history. In addition, IIPES 98 alumna Faten Ghosn returned for a third summer to teach the conflict management component of the program. New to IIPES was Professor Joshua Mitchell, former president of the American University in Iraq Suliman, who taught political economy.
“What I can say undoubtedly about the professors is that all of them, separately and together, are more interesting and more motivating than 95 percent of the teaching staff on my faculty,” said Dusan Radovanovic of Serbia.
A highlight of the summer was the Palmyra Simulation directed by Professor Ghosn. During the simulation students broke into groups to debate the merits of the existence of a fictional breakaway republic. The purpose of the exercise was to demonstrate how to negotiate diplomatic solutions peacefully.
On top of coursework with IIPES faculty, students attended guest lectures with experts in diplomatic affairs, including Emmanuel College’s Peter Vavamakas who spoke about geopolitics and NATO’s Allison Hart. The program concluded on Aug. 5 with a commencement ceremony and keynote address by Serbian Ambassador to France Dusan Batakovic.