The Mt. Hood Community College Foundation sponsored two students to attend the weeklong Oxford Spring 2019 Human Rights, Violent Conflict and the Struggle for Peace workshop seminar by the Oxford Consortium on Human Rights at Oxford University.
Sponsored students included Joe Davis, who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, and Aye Chan May, who has experienced refugee camps. Solamon Ibe, a youth advocate peer educator and community health worker, attended as a student representative as well.
"They came from very different backgrounds and brought a great perspective to the seminar,” said Janet Campbell, MHCC political science instructor. “Most of the students are from four-year colleges or are graduate students. It’s quite inspiring to see our students perform so well in such a high-caliber crowd.”
Davis, May, and Ibe joined college students from around the United States to take part in the seminar, where they heard from leading human rights activists and policymakers on peacemaking and ethics in warfare.
May shared her gratitude and inspiration behind her passion for human rights advocacy, “I can’t thank the MHCC Foundation enough for the support I received. I am very grateful for the opportunity to have attended this conference which opened my mind to see the world and influenced me to become a stronger person for my Karen community. I believe that I may not be able to help the whole world, but the least I can do is to have an impact on my Karen people.”
Davis gained valuable insight from attending the conference. He said, “The opportunity to spend time with such different, yet like-minded, individuals was invaluable. From the guest speakers to the students, everyone was genuinely concerned with a very simple premise – making lives better for all. The possibility to attend such a workshop is truly a once-in-a-lifetime occasion and I am extremely grateful to those who sponsored my participation. It is now up to my peers and myself, along with our communal leaders, to continue to drive forward in an effort to improve not only the world around us but here in our communities at home.”
Campbell explained why opportunities such as the seminar workshops at Oxford are so important for community college students. “You can’t be what you can’t see. This gathering opens the potential in students they did not realize they had. They are the future. Nothing could be more important than awakening their capacities.” She went on to say, “I am incredibly grateful for the support of the MHCC Foundation and to Janet McIntyre for providing our students with a truly incredible opportunity. I hope we will come again in 2020 and carry on the stellar representation previous MHCC participants have achieved.”