Trinity Women are always right in the middle of the action! This summer, with so much tragic news coming out of Israel and the Gaza Strip, I was proud to learn that a Trinity student was on the scene in Israel learning more about the conflict and peacebuilding efforts in Israel. Trinity Junior Airen Washington, a remarkable student leader, spent part of this summer in Israel on a trip organized by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee through the Milstein Foundation Campus Allies Mission to Israel. Airen is Vice President of the College Democrats at Trinity, as well as serving as President of the Red Class for two years, President of the Communication Club, and a trip leader for the Community Service Board of Campus Ministry. What an accomplished Trinity Woman!
Airen was one of just 40 college students selected for this trip, which included students from Princeton and Harvard. Here are some reflections on her trip to Israel:
“My involvement with the College Democrats of America and College Democrats at Trinity Washington University has allowed me to greatly expand my nationwide network, and even brought me to Israel. In the summer of 2013, Natasha McKenzie, the former President of Trinity’s College Democrats Chapter, the current Vice President of College Democrats of America, and my mentor, participated in the Milstein Foundation Campus Allies Mission to Israel, which was organized and hosted by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. The American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC, is America’s pro-Israel lobby whose mission is to protect and strengthen the U.S.-Israel relationship. This past May, I was one of forty selected students who traveled to Israel on the 2014 AIPAC Milstein Foundation Campus Allies Mission. In Israel, I proudly represented Trinity, my hometown of Washington DC, and my community.
The Milstein Foundation Campus Allies Mission is a ten day trip all across Israel. While there, our group traveled all around the country. We saw Jerusalem, Ma’agan, the Golan Heights, the Jordan River, Masada and Tel Aviv. We had very little time for rest! Each day we were presented with a series of speakers that ranged from journa, Knesset (Israeli parliament) members, and former IDF generals. During my journey, I learned so much about the Israeli government, religious influence and Jewish culture which I am so thankful for. I experienced life changing moments like praying at the Western Wall, testing myself physically by swimming and hiking, attending a traditional Shabbat dinner, floating in the Dead Sea, and visiting the World Holocaust Museum. Part of what makes a successful person is being well rounded and having the ability to empathize with people who have a dissimilar lifestyle to their own.
“If I continue to travel and meet with people who are different than me, I will become an extraordinary leader who doesn’t make decisions that only incorporate my own values and ethics, because I will have gained deeper understanding of how my decisions affect society at a local, national and global level. In the future, I plan to support initiatives and policies that protect and promote the U.S.-Israel relationship because I have seen and experienced how important this relationship is for both nations.”
More photos from Airen’s time in Israel:
With a friend at the Golan Heights:
Congratulations to Airen for participating in this great learning experience! And thanks to another great Trinity Woman, Natasha McKenzie, whose leadership with the College Democrats paved the way for Airen!
How did you spend your summer vacation? Send me a few paragraphs about your summer learning experiences along with photos to firstname.lastname@example.org and I will publish your comments and images on this blog.
Follow me on Twitter @TrinityPrez