Student selected to attend Harvard conference on international relations
St. Olaf College student Samuel Pattinasarane ’18 is an Asian studies and political science major, a native of Indonesia, and a firm believer in the importance of a globalized world.
So when he was recently given the opportunity to attend the Harvard Project for Asian and International Relations (HPAIR) conference at Harvard University, he found the perfect chance to connect and engage with people from all over the world, while diving deeper into exploring his own academic and personal interests.
HPAIR is student-run organization that hosts annual student conferences focusing on economic, political, social, and cultural issues facing the Asia-Pacific region. The conference featured panels about corporate leadership, energy and sustainability, entrepreneurship, finance and world economy, health and social policy, human rights, and security and diplomacy.
More than 200 undergraduate and graduate students and business professionals from 40 different countries attended the conference.
As a delegate to the security and diplomacy panel, Pattinasarane was a part of analyses and debates about topics such as regionalism in Asia, the destabilization of the Middle East, and nuclear proliferation in Asia.
He was able to hear influential speakers such as vice president of the Jordan Senate and former prime minister of Jordan Samir Al-Rifai, as well as former deputy assistant secretary of state for Iran John Limbert, who was one of the 52 U.S. hostages during the 1979 Iranian Revolution.
“The most rewarding part of attending this conference is the chance to network with the diverse community of delegates,” says Pattinasarane. “The world is becoming more and more globalized. This means that one has to take the necessary step to connect him or herself with people from other parts of the world. You might find someone who has the same passions as you, or who can help you whenever you need the resources to grow yourself.”
Pattinasarane feels that the four days spent at the conference were akin to a study abroad program in terms of global cultural and intellectual exchange.
“It is not just about the place anymore, it is about the people in it,” he says. “And if one can’t take the initiative to connect and interact themselves with the global community, they will be left out.”