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International relations club starts conversations on campus

International relations club starts conversations on campus

The faces of world leaders stared down students from the loggias and dorm hallways for several weeks leading up to spring break. The pictures, adorned with witty captions, were the advertising campaign for the new international affairs club on campus. Developed by CJ Ray ’16 and Ameer Shujjah ’16, the club is a way for Grinnellians to come together to learn and share their perceptions on current events around the world.

The idea for the club initially sprung from Ray and Shujjah’s dinner table conversations. The two frequently spent their meals debating the happenings of the world.

“We were having conversations, and we knew other people were having conversations informally as well, and we wanted to set out a time and a place for these conversations to happen each week,” Ray said.

After deciding a time and a place for meetings, the pair began the all-important process of postering.

“I just wanted to show that it was going to be a fun club, and so we wanted to make funny posters … we wanted to make posters that people could recognize, relate with and get a chuckle out of,” Ray said.

Their posters soon decorated almost every hallway and loggia, and Ray himself chuckled as he admitted that the he and Shujjah’s advertising may have been a tad excessive. Still, the posters proved to be quite effective. Ray reported that the club has had a healthy attendance in their first few meetings.

Despite making their gathering a formal club, the two have decided to keep the discussions as casual as their former dinner debates. While each meeting will carry a theme, usually centering on a certain geographic area, the leaders try to leave room for open discussion.

“It will just be a natural discussion and debate type of thing. It’s not super formal, sometimes we start with a theme and it ends up going another direction and that’s just fine,” Ray said.

In addition to their normal meetings, the club plans to host events for the greater campus community.

“It’s not going to be an every week sort of thing, but we’ll occasionally have different movie nights, and we might even have some student panels on topics that people are interested it. It’s just a way to keep the club fun,” Ray said.

Tonight the group will host their first movie night. “The Ambassador” will be played at 8:30 p.m. in the ARH. The documentary chronicles the work of a filmmaker who buys his way into an ambassadorship in the Central African Republic.

In the coming weeks, the club hopes to cover several topics that are pertinent in today’s world. This Thursday, the club discussed the ongoing crisis in Yemen. In the future, Ray would like to see the club discuss issues such as the war in Syria, the Euro crisis and the current situation in Afghanistan. Although Ray has big discussion plans for the group, he hopes that members of the club will take the initiative and bring their own topics for debate as well. 

“I hope that people who are interested in discussing these events, what’s going on internationally, can come to the club and find it fun and useful,” Ray concluded. “We love lively debate and discussion.”

The club meets every Thursday at 9 p.m. in ARH 227.

International Relations Club

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