Ashland, Ore. — Many Southern Oregon University students are getting ready to head back to campus, but not sophomore Ben Barnes. He’s wrapping up his summer vacation with a trip to India.
“We’re going to talk to everyone from the Indian Parliament to the Indian Supreme Court and various government officials. We’re going to see the U.S. Embassy in India, which I’m really looking forward to,” he said.
Barnes and 12 other students and staff from SOU’s Honors College leave for New Delhi Monday morning. After 20 hours in the air they’ll spend nine days learning about the world’s largest democracy as part of the college’s Democracy Project.
“Everything centers around how are they doing this really tricky business of democracy? And what can we learn from the way they do it?” Honors College Director Ken Mulliken said.
Dr. Mulliken said when the Democracy Project was launched three years ago one of the goals was to provide out of the classroom opportunities for students to transform into leaders.
“We need to help them better understand how democracy is understood and promoted, and we believe we have a lot to offer the world in terms of democracy and our way of doing things, but we need to learn also from other ways,” he said.
While in India students will meet with members of parliament, Indian civil-service and foreign-service officials, Supreme Court representatives, and the governor of on of the Indian states. They’ll also be visiting the United States embassy, attending cultural events and meeting with journalists, professors, and college students.
They’ll be writing about their impressions called “dispatches from India” on themes relating to their studies including “Human Rights and the Quality of Life Index” and “The Roles of Women in Contemporary Indian Society.”