August 12, 2020

UMW Hosting Pair of International Relations Talks (Fredericksburg.Com)

Crisis in Crimea Panel, April 2

Crimea Poster final

The UMW Model United Nations invites you to a panel discussion “Crisis in Crimea” on Wednesday, April 2 at 4:30 p.m. in Trinkle Hall, Room 106A. The panel features Nabil S. Al-Tikriti, associate professor of history and American studies, and John M. Kramer, chair and distinguished professor of political science and international affairs.

UMW Alumnus Shares His Experience as U.S. Ambassador

At 24 years old – just four years after donning a cap and gown at the University of Mary Washington – Clifford Hart ‘80 moved halfway around the world. He left his home state of Virginia, where he had attended Mary Washington, then the University of Virginia for graduate school, to take a post in China with the Foreign Service. “It was a treat from beginning to end,” Hart said of his first assignment. “It was a fascinating time to be there.” Hart, now Special Envoy for the Six-Party Talks for the denuclearization of North Korea, spoke with students about his decades-long career in the Foreign Service during a recent trip to his alma mater. “The Foreign Service is a deeply stimulating intellectual exercise,” he said. “You are constantly learning.” As an envoy, Ambassador Hart coordinates U.S. efforts on the Six-Party Talks and leads day-to-day engagement with Six-Party partners. “It has been an occasion for me to learn a lot about a really critical part of our foreign policy,” Hart said. In his 30-year career, Hart has held posts in numerous countries, including China, Taiwan, Iraq and the Soviet Union, and has served in senior positions at the State Department, the White House and the Pentagon. He credits Mary Washington with providing a quality liberal arts education that has served as a foundation for his career. “As a diplomat, you need to draw in the broadest intellectual framework you can,” he said. Hart faults himself for not taking advantage of the full range of liberal arts studies while at Mary Washington, where he heavily concentrated in international relations and political science to Russian and economics. He nonetheless recalls his education with gratitude and pleasure. “On a personal level, I was able to establish close relationships with faculty,” Hart said. “I still benefit daily from [John Kramer’s] instruction 33 years ago.” Kramer, distinguished professor and chair of the Department of Political Science and International Affairs, taught Hart in several international relations classes. “Ambassador Hart was one of the singular best students I have had the privilege of teaching in my 42 years at Mary Washington – and that is saying something because I have had so many wonderful students during my tenure here,” Kramer said. “Of course, it was obvious he had the superior intelligence to excel, but what really impressed me was how even as an undergraduate, he possessed those skills that UMW promotes as foundational qualities of liberal learning: outstanding written and oral communication capacities, well-honed analytical skills and facility in foreign languages, in his case, both Russian and Cantonese.” For Will Kyle ’13, the opportunity to talk to Hart was invaluable. “Meeting with Ambassador Hart was such an enlightening and enriching academic opportunity and personal experience,” he said. Kyle, an international affairs major, said his conversations with Hart yielded critical research for his senior honors thesis on current foreign policy in the Asia-Pacific region. “In my eyes, the experience just goes to show all of the opportunities available to students here at Mary Washington upon graduation from our rigorous, well-run academic programs,” Kyle said. “After meeting with Ambassador Hart, I am more inspired than ever to use my degree to best serve this great country that we live in.” Click here to view the embedded video.

Political Science Student Awarded Summer Scholarship

University of Mary Washington junior Shirley Martey is the recipient of the 2013 Ambassador Summer Scholarship from the Taiwan-U.S. Sister Relations Alliance (TUSA). Martey, chosen to represent the Commonwealth of Virginia, is the first UMW student to be awarded the scholarship. A political science major, Martey is a member of UMW’s Finance Committee and is the treasurer of the Student Government Association. She also serves on the College of Arts and Sciences Curriculum Committee and has been active in Student Senate. Martey is a member of the Mortar Board national honor society and Pi Sigma Alpha, the political science honor society. She has been named to the Dean’s List. “Shirley personifies the spirit and values of UMW,” said Elizabeth Larus, professor of political science and international affairs. “A high achiever, Shirley has an infectious enthusiasm for learning and will bring a high level of energy and gusto to the TUSA program. Shirley will make an excellent ambassador because she is open to other cultures and her exuberant friendliness quickly puts others at ease.” The Ambassador Scholarship provides funds for an eight-week study of Chinese language at the National Cheng Kung University in Taiwan. Recipients of the scholarship learn Mandarin Chinese and experience Taiwanese culture while representing the U.S. TUSA promotes peace in the world by creating closer friendships and understanding between the people of the U.S. and the people of Taiwan. “Shirley’s achievement speaks for itself: it is an outstanding accomplishment, consistent with her record of academic excellence that she has compiled at UMW,” said Jack Kramer, distinguished professor and chair of political science and international affairs. “It is also very welcome news because the United States desperately needs far more individuals fluent in Chinese as it seeks to understand and respond to a rapidly growing China that is emerging as a global challenger to the U.S. economically and militarily.” For more information about the TUSA, visit

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News release prepared by:       Julia Davis

Faculty-Led Study Abroad Trips Reach Milestones

A group of students during the 2011 “Spain for All” trip.

Carol Quinn has been back in the United States for less than a week and she is already thinking of her next trip to Europe.

The University of Mary Washington senior was one of nine students who visited London, Amsterdam, Wurzburg, Munich and Vienna with the Psychology in Europe study abroad trip. The students, led by Associate Professor of Psychology Dave Kolar, spent two weeks at historical and cultural sites relevant to the study of psychology.

“The trip inspired me to return and do some of my own traveling in Europe,” Quinn, a psychology and sociology major, said. “I’m eager to go back. I wasn’t ready to leave at all!”

This summer, more than 100 students are studying abroad, either as part of UMW faculty-led trips, or through programs at other universities or organizations. Members of the UMW field hockey team recently traveled to Italy with Coach Lindsay Elliot to train and compete on an international scale.

Some trips have become UMW staples, like “European Capitals – London, Paris, Berlin, Prague and Vienna,” now in its 20th year, “Spain for All,” celebrating its 10th anniversary and “Psychology in Europe,” in its fifth year.

Students in the 2012 Psychology in Europe program visit the Camden Lock Market

Denis Nissim-Sabat, professor of psychology, developed the Psychology in Europe trip to expose students to the history of psychology they learn about during the year.

“History comes alive for them,” he said, noting the students’ opportunities to visit sites from a Holocaust concentration camp to Sigmund Freud’s house.

For Jose Sainz, director of the Center for International Education and associate professor of Spanish, the Spain for All program’s success is due to its emphasis on academic, cultural and personal experiences and its ability to adapt to students’ needs. Although the program started 10 years ago solely with Spanish courses, now it offers courses across disciplines, as well as service learning opportunities and internships.

“After a decade leading students, we still get messages on Facebook and emails from students who are now long gone from campus indicating that attending the program was one of the highlights of their time at UMW,” Sainz, leader of the trip, said.

Sainz and Associate Professor of Spanish Marisa Martinez-Mira will take 34 students to Spain this summer, from June 24 through July 27.

For two decades, the European Capitals program has been going strong. This year’s group of 16 students, led by Jack Kramer, distinguished professor of political science, and Porter Blakemore, associate professor of history, will return on Friday, June 8 after four weeks of travel.

The European Capitals trip makes a stop at British Parliament in London

According to the political science department’s newsletter, the trip includes a briefing with a member of the British Parliament, a private tour of the Palace of Westminster, a tour of Versailles, a concert of classical music provided by the Imperial Orchestra in Vienna and a briefing at the German Foreign Ministry in Berlin.

According to Kate Jordan, study abroad program assistant in the Center for International Education, summer study abroad programs like Spain for All and European Capitals are appealing for students because they require less time commitment than a semester-long or full-year program, while offering unique coursework.

“Not only do short term faculty-led study abroad programs give students flexibility in their course choices, but they have the opportunity to have an amazing intercultural experience at the same time,” she said. “Summer study abroad is also less expensive than many semester abroad programs, making it more attractive for some students.  In today’s increasingly competitive job market, students with international experience definitely have an edge.”