News from the Hilltop
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Two Birmingham-Southern College students selected for study trip to Israel
BIRMINGHAM, Ala.—Birmingham-Southern students Kindred Motes and Mandy Shunnarah were two of only 20 American college and university student leaders selected for a trip to Israel to get a close-up look at the United States’ relationship with Israel as well as the issues and challenges Israel faces as a democracy in the Middle East.
Motes, a senior English major and Harrison Scholar from Somerville, Ala., and Shunnarah, a junior English major from Gardendale, will be in Israel Jan. 2-12, 2012, during BSC’s month-long Exploration Term. They were the only two students selected from the same school, and among three who were chosen from Alabama.
The “Caravan to Democracy,” sponsored by the Jewish National Fund, will include touring; meeting political, cultural, and community leaders; and exploring Israel’s diverse democracy.
“My paternal grandparents were Palestinian immigrants,” Shunnarah said. “I’m very interested in experiencing Israeli culture and learning more about why the two cultures have been at odds for centuries.”
The Jewish National Fund, headquartered in New York City, is an international nonprofit organization aimed at promoting a global understanding of Israel. Out of the hundreds of applicants from colleges and universities across the U.S., program officials chose students of all faiths who have not visited Israel and who serve in a significant leadership position on their campus or in the community in political, religious, athletic, cultural, and/or educational groups.
Motes is the 2012 conference coordinator for the YMCA Collegiate Legislature, a program that encourages political debate and civic engagement among college students in Alabama, and he sings with the BSC Concert Choir. Shunnarah volunteers and tutors youth in the community, is a contributor for the college’s Hilltop News student paper, serves as a tour guide at historic Oakhill Cemetery, and writes for the Magic City Post and North Jefferson News.
After graduation, Motes plans to attend graduate school in public policy/international relations. Shunnarah intends to enroll in graduate school for an MFA in creative writing.