Government Students Study Immigration Policy
The two week program at Hertford College at Oxford University, July 4-16, gave students an opportunity to study international politics.
This year's featured class covered a topic that has been at the forefront of political debate all year: "Politics & Families in Immigration Law." Dr. Manjikian and School of Law professor Lynne Marie Kohm co-taught the class, which considered how states are strengthened or weakened by immigration.
"England provided an interesting place to teach the course, since we were able to compare and contrast U.S. and British immigration policy," Manjikian said. "Both countries are currently debating multiculturalism and the ways in which immigrants should or should not be required to adopt the customs and values of their new country. Both countries are struggling with the rise of anti-Islamic sentiments and both have a recent history of domestic terror attacks which have played into immigration debates."
"We tend to see immigration as being an exclusively American political issue, but it goes much deeper than that," Ramsey explained.
The course allowed students both a personal and political exposure to immigration. "Not only were they able to learn cross-culturally," said Kohm, "but what they participated in and experienced through the course policy discussions ought to be part of the current American and global debate on immigration."
Students were unanimous in identifying the highlight of the course. They were asked to debate a sensitive topic: Should multiculturalism and tolerance prevail over human rights and national sovereignty in immigration policy?
"It stretched them conceptually because they were not told in advance which side they would be arguing," Manjikian said. "This truly helped them to see both sides of the issue."
The group also visited the National Maritime Museum's exhibit, "Atlantic Worlds," which showcased Europe's long history of moving people, goods and ideas around the world. "There's something about seeing 'the real deal' instead of reading about it in a book or just looking at a small photo," law student Wayne Wallace wrote in his class journal.
When they weren't deliberating immigration law, the seven students took trips into London, experiencing England through the lens of a tourist. English cuisine, plays, bus tours and historical site visits filled their days with many multicultural experiences.
"It's like history is alive and speaking to you at every turn," said RSG student and first-time international traveler Jeandelize Burgos. "With such an obviously vibrant atmosphere of multiculturalism and immigration, Oxford set the perfect foundation for our class."
As for Manjikian and Ramsey's piano duet, Ramsey is confident they'll take London by storm. "Our 2012 tour will be announced soon!" he joked.
Learn more about RSG's Oxford Summer Program.