Last Day in Lima

The next day we continued our exploration of the beautiful and interesting city of Lima. After an early breakfast and a regrouping session back at the hotel, we boarded the bus to head for the Museo Larco in downtown Lima. This museum contained a rich amount of ancient Peruvian history, both before and after Spanish colonization. It showed the culture of the Moche people and their daily lifestyle. We were able to see fascinating artwork and pottery preserved from a thousand years ago. Before lunch, we engaged in an impromptu, fun yoga session on the lawn in front of the restaurant. Next, we hopped back on the bus and traveled to ancient ruins situated right in the middle of the city. These ruins were fascinating to explore, and they really revealed the religious aspects of pre-Columbian society. Later, we walked to a busy park near our hotel and did leadership and team bonding activities, such as the human knot and two truths and a lie. After a long day of exploring Lima, we ate dinner at a very nice seafood restaurant, where all of the students participated in tricky and frustrating riddles.

Day 2- Exploring Lima

On the first official day in Peru, the rising sophomores and seniors embarked on a full day in the city of Lima. Following a 2:00 AM arrival time at the hotel, all fellows approached the day with energy and excitement despite the lack of sleep. We started the day navigating through city traffic, attempting to locate several iconic spots in Lima. While at the Plaza Del Armas, we had the opportunity to visit the breathtaking Catedral de Lima. This particular church is home to the burial site of Francisco Pizarro, the infamous Spanish conquistador who vanquished the Incas in Peru. The church’s Baroque architecture was stunning and a testament to the beauty of the city. The group then enjoyed a nice lunch outside of the plaza and headed to our next location. The Larcomar, a seaside park/shopping area, was decided on as a spot for leadership and team building. Although the view would have been even more spectacular on a sunny day, we thoroughly roamed the Larcomar while completing a scavenger hunt. Tasks included finding foreign food and drink, finding different car brands, and conversing with a stranger in Spanish to learn from the language, which proved most difficult for almost every group. Following this fun leadership activity, Michael Hostutler ’20 directed us to a popular dinner place by our hotel. However, an hour and a half wait caused the group to look for other options. We ended up at Norky’s, a nearby restaurant, and enjoyed a filling dinner that lasted for 3 hours. Everyone is excited for the last days in Lima as we are soon headed for the Andes!

-William ’20

Day 1- Travel Day

Yesterday on July 7, the 2018 and 2020 International Relations Fellows, under the leadership of Mr. Gibson, Mr. McMahon, and Dr. Naujoks, embarked upon our week long trip to Peru. We all met at 10:15 at Norfolk International Airport, eager but nervous for the road ahead. We all knew that this trip would be very memorable and important for ourselves and the future of the program, and hopefully it will be a stepping stone for greater projects later. All of the fellows said goodbye to their families and boarded a flight from Norfolk to Atlanta. At first, we had not really gelled yet as a group, since we are two grade levels apart. As the day went on, everyone began to grow closer to one another as we learned more about each other. At 6:00 we began the long journey from Atlanta to Lima. When the plane finally landed in Peru, the time was around 12:00. Everyone was exhausted from a long day of travel. Our bodies were tired, but our spirits were still high. We rode on a bus to the hotel Casa Andina in the region of Miraflores, and everyone recharged with a good nights sleep.


’17 Talk IR Theory

During our recent meeting, I took the ‘17s through the theories of international relations I have been teaching to the ‘20s for the past semester. I presented a quick “crash course” on realism, liberalism, and constructivism: the three primary lenses through which political scientists and policy makers view the behaviors of actors. Additionally, using instances provided in current events and recent history, I attempted to defend my thesis that current policy as it stands is out of touch with twenty first century realities, such as the growth of non-state actors and asymmetry in actors’ interactions.

 -Hallie Griffiths ’17

’17s Prep for IR Day

We, the International Relations Fellows, will be running International Relations day this year. Early on, it was decided we wanted the day to be similar to our DIME experience. Thus, Colonel Beattie and the 5 (maybe more) SMEs will be joining us again to share their insights and experience with the whole school. The ’17s and ’18s have brainstormed several ideas on how to make everything together. We have yet to finalize the schedule but are well on our way to making IR day fun and successful.

-Nico Moscoso ’17

’17’s Talk Cuba

On Tuesday, November 29th, the ’17s met to discuss the recent death of Fidel Castro. We first noted the different ways public leaders noted Castro’s death. We found President Obama’s to be most diplomatic and respectful while still not praising Castro. We also debated on Cuba’s geopolitical importance and how US policy might be toward the island moving forward.
-Nico Moscoso ’17

‘20s Middle School Community Service: Helping the World Affairs Council of Greater Hampton Roads

As part of the Middle School Community Service Program, the 9th grade IR Fellows have been working on improving the social media presence of the World Affairs Council of Greater Hampton Roads. After brainstorming ideas to improve the Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and website of the WACGHR, the Fellows produced a social media audit to present to the Board of Directors. Comparing WACGHR’s current platforms to those of other World Affair Councils, the cohort concluded that the WACGHR was in need of a makeover, and we gave them advice on how to proceed. Although the process of social media change is gradual, the benefits of their new contemporary design will be worthwhile for the World Affairs Council of Greater Hampton Roads.

-William Smythe ’20

Who Controls the Last Frontier?

Yesterday Adavya Dhawan led the 2018 fellows in a discussion about the privatization of space travel and what the future holds for our space program. We discussed the implications of allowing private companies, such as entrepreneur Elon Musk’s SpaceX program, to be the pioneers in the discovery and colonization of planets. Currently, private companies have led the charge in the effort to colonize Mars, and SpaceX has announced its plans to send humans to Mars by 2023. These corporations provide beneficial contributions to the finances and development of the world’s space program; however, they also present the issue of being too elitist for the majority of people and possibly holding too much power in such an important issue. Going off of that topic, we began to discuss relatively hypothetical situations. For instance, a few of us brought up the issue of whether the governments on Earth or the first people who arrive at a planet should be able to claim it. To support their claims, those arguing for federal control drew comparisons to previous colonial expeditions like Antarctica. Those arguing for the privatization of space travel claimed that space was a completely different frontier than anything on Earth and that the companies which put in their own time and money should reap their own benefits. In the end, all of our cohort came to an agreement that there needed to be a worldwide council in the future that regulates the further travel and discovery of space.

-Jimmy Peccie ’18

Baltics: Final thoughts

Wow! What a journey! The ’19s and ’17s began this trip as a group of awkward acquaintances and, over the course of twelve days, morphed into a close group of friends sharing a special bond. We began as struggling map-readers but finished as seasoned travel experts. We fully immersed ourselves in the Baltics, kicking off our trip in Helsinki, exploring Tallinn and Riga, and finishing in Stockholm. We spoke with natives from various backgrounds and statuses, learned about the culture and history of each country, ate new foods, and attempted to learn new words in other languages. We spent many hours happily roaming around the cities (Mr. Craig often reached 20-30,000 steps in a day!). Each one of us was forced outside of our safety zones in new and different ways, testing us and expanding our horizons and preparing us for leadership and life.
I think we can all agree that each of us developed as people, as leaders, and as a group throughout this trip.

Here is a quick summary of our experiences in\ each country from the ’17 who planned it:

Helsinki, Finland (Alix Galumbeck): In Helsinki, we learned about Finnish culture from a scavenger hunt in the National Museum of Finland, various churches, and my Finnish relatives, Ritva and her family. We toured her work and then visited her home. By meeting with my family, we were able to learn about Finnish history, culture, and society in a more personal way.

Tallinn, Estonia (Luke Cromwell): In Tallinn, we immersed ourselves deeply into Eastern European culture. We visited the US embassy and the Estonian parliament, and had productive discussions with representatives from each location. We also explored Tallinn’s fascinating and rich history with visits to the Tallinn TV tower, old military fortresses, and churches around the old town.

Riga, Latvia (Chris Kazakis): We acquainted ourselves the city of Riga with a kayak tour on our first night. Our second day was spent digging deeper into the culture and history of the city with visits to two museums as well as a culinary tour. We also tested our navigational skills with a challenge to find as many coffee shops as possible in the old town. Our last day in Riga, we had the opportunity to meet with students from the University of Latvia, who gave us a younger generation’s perspective on the country.

Stockholm, Sweden (Hallie Griffiths): Stockholm was an awesome experience for me both as a leader and a traveler. I learned not only how to plan every aspect of a trip, but also how to be flexible and adapt when situations did not go exactly as planned. I think that our time in Stockholm overall was a great balance of historical, modern, domestic, and international.

Here is a quick Summary of how we developed as leaders from Nico Moscoso, our leadership activity coordinator:
Leadership was a big component of our trip to the Baltics. Every day a ’19 was our leader of the day and executed the days plan which was created by a ’17. All of us learned a lot from our own and others’ failures and success. Each day we got better and better at leading and I can confidently say that we are all much better leaders now than we were entering the trip.

Perspectives on different cultures: 
On our last day of this amazing Baltics trip, the group gathered together to discuss what we had seen and learned about each city’s culture and how it all fit together. Some noted how distant Helsinki seemed from the rest of the Baltics, seeming to be happy and at peace in its own world, despite the struggles of living so far north.  Another emphasized Finland’s national pride and identity.  Others pointed out how Finland enjoys being remembered by the western world, referring back to a conversation with a finish native, who very surprised and excited by the fact that we were on a school trip from the States and chose to visit Finland!  Different from Finland, Estonia is far more ambitious in its dealings with the west, refusing to let Russia bully it around anymore. It seems self-conscious of its size and, therefore, goes the extra kilometer to ensure NATO’s protection from scary neighbor Russia and ensure support from EU. It is incredibly proud of spending 2% of its GDP for NATO and fulfilling its part. It continuously boasts its groundbreaking E-stonia culture and e-government and follows the Western model precisely, choosing to look to the future, as repeatedly mentioned by many a fellow. On the other hand, Latvia, as everyone seemed to unanimously agree, is looking towards the past. Its focus is more on showing off its history and less of a concern with NATO and EU. However, both Estonia and Latvia are known for being in the top five of most unhappy countries. In drastic contrast to all of this, Sweden, never conquered by the Soviet Union, continues to proclaim itself as “capital of Scandinavian countries”.  It is clearly proud and confident in the fact that it is developed and huge and has an illustrious, conquering history. All these countries we have visited provide various glimpses into the Baltic States and show the similarities and differences within one region.

Our Favorite Quotes :
“During my days as leader, I had some struggles. But I learned to persevere and work through them”.
-Arman Shekarriz

“The diversity of culture between countries that went through the same events in history is quite interesting.”
-Daniel Moscoso

“…I got nothing…”
-Mr. Craig

“This trip was an enlightening experience and I learned a lot… I learned how to deal with people.”
-Alex Burkett

“Let’s roll.”
-Hallie Griffiths

“Olen iloinen!” — Finnish for “I’m happy!”

“This journey saw the fellows grow on so many levels.  They opened their eyes to new cultures by examining, experiencing and exploring first-hand, life in each country.  They grew by pushing themselves outside their comfort zone by sharing frank discourse with locals, tasting different cuisines,  and tackling long sleepless days while traveling via a wide array of transportation.  Each Fellow grew and strengthened their ability to lead and follow.  They problem solved, honed their communication skills and perfected their personal leadership style.  At each turn they were challenged and in every case they excelled! Their efforts, compassion, empathy and resolve made us proud! They are ready to take on the world!”
-Bernie McMahon