Sister Cities students attend international leadership center

Members of the Junior Board of the Scottsdale Sister Cities met recently with Claire Sechler Merkel, director of Arizona Initiatives of the McCain Institute of International Leadership at ASU. Ms Merkel is seated facing the Junior Board members.

Members of the Junior Board of the Scottsdale Sister Cities met recently with Claire Sechler Merkel, director of Arizona Initiatives of the McCain Institute of International Leadership at ASU. Ms Merkel is seated facing the Junior Board members.

The Junior Board of the Scottsdale Sister Cities finished the school year May 4 learning about and discussing the work of The McCain Institute of International Leadership.

Their discussion was with Claire Sechler Merkel, director of Arizona Initiatives for The McCain Institute for International Leadership, part of Arizona State University. She described the functions of the institute, focusing on internship opportunities for students with a global interest.

Additionally, Ms. Merkel described other institute functions including the recent hosting of an invitation-only discussion in Washington, D.C. on topics such as the Middle East and the immigrant situation there and in Europe.

Many of the students had been in Marrakech, Morocco in March and personally observed how the Muslims and Arabs of Morocco are just like themselves, good people and very hospitable. Ms Merkel told the students they were far more globally aware than most Americans as a result of their travels with Scottsdale Sister Cities.

Ms. Merkel also spoke of efforts by the institute to increase awareness of the global magnitude of human trafficking and to insure those who are engaged in it will find themselves unwelcome in Arizona and serving long sentences.

Most members of the Junior Board have traveled to sister cities such as Alamos, Mexico; Haikou, China; Interlaken, Switzerland and Marrakech, Morocco.

They live with local families and shadow their host siblings in school as part of their global experience. They act as Youth Ambassadors; explain American culture and the highlights of Arizona.

The meeting concluded a year of service by the Junior Board. It began with facilitating sessions of the Annual Student Leadership Workshop at Scottsdale Community College in August 2015; holding two parties to welcome all foreign exchange high school students who are in the greater Scottsdale area for the year; discussing U.S. State Department functions with the Ambassador In Residence, Jasper Daniels, at ASU; and meeting with the Honorary Canadian Consul, Glenn Williamson, on Canadian issues.

All members of the Junior Board are committed to increasing their own global awareness and know how so they can be leaders in their Scottsdale area high schools for encouraging other students to expand their global interests. Many are officers of their international clubs at their high schools.

Scottsdale Sister Cities is dedicated to promoting peace through mutual respect, understanding and cooperation — one individual, one community at a time.

For more information on Scottsdale Sister Cities, visit www.scottsdalesistercities.info.

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