Asia in the Middle East
Dyson student Asia Mcdougle-Stamey ’13 is currently spending the 2012-2013 academic year in Israel, after earning four awards to study at the University of Haifa: the University of Haifa Presidential Scholarship, MASA Israel Scholarship, University of Haifa Internship Program, and University of Haifa Peace and Conflict Honors Program, an interdisciplinary program that brings international students to the university to examine the cultural, economic, educational, historical, political, psychological, religious, and social aspects of conflict resolution and peace efforts.
Majoring in Political Science with a concentration in International Relations and a dual minor in Peace and Conflict and Middle Eastern studies, the University of Haifa proved a perfect fit for Asia, who is putting her major into motion studying modern standard Arabic and modern Hebrew along with conflict resolution with a focus on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
“I had already attended the University of Haifa for an intensive Hebrew course after a Birthright trip. I noticed that the university was very distinct—people from all over the Middle East, and the fabric of the Middle East. It really seemed like a model for peace efforts,” she says.
In addition to immersing herself in the language, culture, and peace efforts in Israel, Asia is volunteering at a Holocaust Community Center in a small neighborhood in Haifa made up of only Holocaust survivors, where she is spending time with the survivors and will also be teaching a belly dance class starting in January through MASA Israel, a program that offers Jewish students opportunities to study and volunteer in Israel. And, if that’s not enough, she’s currently an emergency management and intelligence intern at the Institute of Terrorism Research and Response in Jerusalem.
Asia credits Pace courses in conflict resolution and the Model UN, which she says helped prepare her for the program. “Through Pace I can study the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and now study with my own eyes,” she says. “Model UN allowed me to develop skills such as public speaking and debate and provided a base and foundation for international relations knowledge. I wouldn’t know as much without the Model UN team. The Model UN team brings the academic classroom to life. It provides a workshop rather than just a lecture.”
Last March, Asia and 10 other delegates from Pace’s Model UN team were selected to analyze and debate universal topics at the Geneva International Model UN conference in Switzerland. Asia also participated in the 2011 National Model UN DC where she represented the Philippines and was recognized with an “Honorable Mention” group award. This November, she took a short break from her work in Israel, having been selected as one of 500 students from across the world to attend the Oxford International Model UN Conference as a delegate.
Next up: Applying for a Jewish education and Israeli government teaching fellowship in Israel which we will begin in the spring and looking at graduate schools to earn a dual masters in Behavior Analysis and National Security.
Asia, who moved to New York from Dauphin Island, Alabama, couldn’t be happier with her decision to come to Pace. “I was accepted into Vanderbilt, but Pace was my first choice because it has such incredible opportunities,” she says. “I wouldn’t be able to get those opportunities in Dauphin Island. Between conflict analysis research and Model UN, I really think that Pace was the perfect choice for me.”
Follow Asia on her journey through Israel by reading her blog at http://turkbellydanser.blogspot.com.