Subject: 2 US College Students Attend Conference in TL

US Fed News

November 3, 2008 Monday 2:20 AM EST

TWO SALEM STATE COLLEGE STUDENTS TO ATTEND INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE IN TIMOR-LESTE

SALEM, Mass.

Salem State College issued the following press release:

Byfield resident and Salem State College senior Jessica Herrick and Everett resident and SSC freshman April Rachel have been selected from a large pool of international applicants to participate in an international conference on youth, identity and nation building in the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste from November 12 - 15.

Of the 43 young adults selected from nations across the globe, Herrick and Rachel hold the distinction of being the youngest, the only two still in college and the only Americans.

Presently Timor-Leste faces substantial challenges in its nation building process, including the lack of an overarching national identity, inadequate women's participation in political decision-making processes and a lack of opportunities and feelings of disenfranchisement among the country's youth.

A Norwegian-sponsored review of the situation in Timor-Leste in light of an outbreak of violence in 2006 that included large numbers of the nation's youth, noted that although they are the largest and the best-educated segment of Timor-Leste's population, the youth sector has received little international assistance or attention from the government. The Norwegian report concluded that Timor-Leste's young people should be viewed as assets and be actively engaged in nation-building processes.

The two Salem State College students and other conference attendees will meeting with the country's youth in the capital city of Dili to discuss nation building, leadership, the economy, and how these young Timorese can work together to ensure a stable future for their country.

Jessica Herrick, whose foster parents are Gary and Dale MacCausland of Byfield, is a Salem State College senior majoring in social work and psychology and minoring in urban studies. Herrick is a member of the college's Honors Program and volunteers throughout New England in the area of housing policy and advocacy for children, the elderly, families, and the disabled who fall below the poverty line.


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