International Education and International Exchanges
Since its inception, the Center has attempted to foster debate and discussion on international dimensions of democracy both through education and research, international student exchanges and symposia on the development of democracy throughout the world.
In 2002, with funding from the Library of Congress, the Center sponsored four, one-week seminars on American democracy for 18 Russian leaders. In 2004-2005, the Center partnered with the International Research and Exchanges Board to sponsor visiting fellows. And since 2004, the Center has helped internationalize the campus with exchange programs and student education on democracy in non-Western, Western and Latin American countries.
Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
From 2004-2006, the Center sponsored international student exchanges bringing student scholars from the developing democratic world to study at SMCM and encourage American students to spend a semester in a "non-traditional" country (that is, not a Western European or predominately English-speaking nation). Through this program, the Center hosted student exchanges between SMCM and the developing countries of Brazil, The Gambia, Senegal, and Thailand.
In 2007, the Center received a three-year grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to expand the Center’s International Program offerings at the college. With this funding the Center has sponsored and coordinated academic symposia, lectures and debates on democracy and its problems in different regions of the world.
Latin American Symposium on Democratic Experiences
After the re election of Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez and Brazilian President Lula de Silva, there has been an increasing number of Latin American States governed by elected presidents who represent populous, leftist political viewpoints and policies. Close to 60 percent of Latin American’s total population of 527 million is now lead by leftist presidents or leftist ruling coalitions. This presents new opportunities and challenges for U.S. relationships.
To help understand these new processes, St. Mary’s College hosted The Latin American Symposium on Democratic Experiences (PDF) during the 2007-2008 school year. The yearlong symposium was intended to raise awareness of important social issues in Latin American, with special focus on new left movements in the region. The symposium showcased the views of Latin American politicians, scholars, poets and filmmakers to help us better understand the range of social and political issues affecting Latino communities at home and abroad. In addition to visiting speakers, the symposium also included the Latin American Film Series: Border Crossing (PDF) which aimed to help students and the community to see 'borders' in a new way and to examine the boundaries placed on us by differences in income, governments, language and social norms.