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Integrating Service Learning into the Study of International Terrorism
Unformatted Document Text:  Service Learning Components for International Terrorism: Empowering Students through Activism David Reilly February 2004 Draft 25 According to international relations theorists, terrorists see a world that is inherently conflictual and anarchic. A course on terrorism that integrates cooperative efforts and service components enables students to experience first-hand the potential for cooperation, progress, and mutual benefit. Terrorism is based in part on misunderstandings between groups, cultures, and ethnicities. By developing an international learn and serve element, students help to eliminate these misunderstandings. The cultural interaction described below will facilitate international understanding and peace, and therefore the students will be engaging in service learning through the exercises described below. Most international service learning programs involve study abroad. Although this is an excellent way to experience first-hand intercultural and international dynamics, it is not easily accomplished in the context of a course taught on campus during a regular academic semester. As an alternative, we will integrate a multi-pronged approach to service learning in this class. First, students will participate in the “Western New York Citizenship Express” program. This is a collaborative project involving Journey’s End Refugee Services—a non-governmental organization that provides services to refugees and immigrants—and the Erie County Bar Association’s Volunteer Lawyer Project. The objective of this project is to inform immigrants about the rights and responsibilities related to citizenship, and to motivate them to initiate the citizenship process. Mitch Cummings, director of Journey’s End, is looking forward to having students from Niagara University participate in the program, and is scheduled to conduct training during our class time. Students will serve as adjudicators and interviewers for the Immigration and Naturalization Services (INS) branch of the Department of Justice. This department has been one of the most closely scrutinized government organizations following the terrorist attacks of September 11 th , and many of their policies and procedures have been, or are in the process of being, evaluated to increase security from terrorist threats. Students will be trained through the program, and will meet with immigration lawyers and government officials to discuss issues related to terrorism. Their specific responsibilities will include client eligibility screening, INS interview preparation, and serving as witnesses for oath ceremonies. A second service component for the class will involve email and NetMeeting interaction with students from Nizhny Novogorod State Linguistic University in Russia. This school was chosen because the students are trained in English language as well as international relations. Niagara University students will work with Russian students to develop joint answers to policy-relevant questions. As events of international terrorism unfold over the course of the semester, NU students and those from abroad will discuss the causes and solutions to these events, and will share their opinions on U.S. and Russian government policies related to terrorism. A third possibility is to give a group talk at the Lockport Senior Centre. A Humanities Group of retired professionals meet there on a regular basis to discuss current events and timely topics. They are looking forward to a discussion led by Niagara students, to take place on November 1 st (time to be announced).

Authors: Reilly, David.
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Service Learning Components for International Terrorism:
Empowering Students through Activism
David Reilly
February 2004 Draft
25

According to international relations theorists, terrorists see a world that is inherently conflictual
and anarchic. A course on terrorism that integrates cooperative efforts and service components
enables students to experience first-hand the potential for cooperation, progress, and mutual
benefit. Terrorism is based in part on misunderstandings between groups, cultures, and
ethnicities. By developing an international learn and serve element, students help to eliminate
these misunderstandings. The cultural interaction described below will facilitate international
understanding and peace, and therefore the students will be engaging in service learning
through the exercises described below.

Most international service learning programs involve study abroad. Although this is an
excellent way to experience first-hand intercultural and international dynamics, it is not easily
accomplished in the context of a course taught on campus during a regular academic semester.
As an alternative, we will integrate a multi-pronged approach to service learning in this class.

First, students will participate in the “Western New York Citizenship Express” program. This is
a collaborative project involving Journey’s End Refugee Services—a non-governmental
organization that provides services to refugees and immigrants—and the Erie County Bar
Association’s Volunteer Lawyer Project
. The objective of this project is to inform immigrants about
the rights and responsibilities related to citizenship, and to motivate them to initiate the
citizenship process. Mitch Cummings, director of Journey’s End, is looking forward to having
students from Niagara University participate in the program, and is scheduled to conduct
training during our class time.

Students will serve as adjudicators and interviewers for the Immigration and Naturalization
Services (INS) branch of the Department of Justice. This department has been one of the most
closely scrutinized government organizations following the terrorist attacks of September 11
th
,
and many of their policies and procedures have been, or are in the process of being, evaluated
to increase security from terrorist threats. Students will be trained through the program, and
will meet with immigration lawyers and government officials to discuss issues related to
terrorism. Their specific responsibilities will include client eligibility screening, INS interview
preparation, and serving as witnesses for oath ceremonies.

A second service component for the class will involve email and NetMeeting interaction with
students from Nizhny Novogorod State Linguistic University in Russia. This school was chosen
because the students are trained in English language as well as international relations. Niagara
University students will work with Russian students to develop joint answers to policy-relevant
questions. As events of international terrorism unfold over the course of the semester, NU
students and those from abroad will discuss the causes and solutions to these events, and will
share their opinions on U.S. and Russian government policies related to terrorism.

A third possibility is to give a group talk at the Lockport Senior Centre. A Humanities Group of
retired professionals meet there on a regular basis to discuss current events and timely topics.
They are looking forward to a discussion led by Niagara students, to take place on November
1
st
(time to be announced).


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