College Hosts Homeland Security Forum

Local efforts to combat terrorism will be the focus of a public forum organized by students of International College’s Interdisciplinary Studies Program.

The forum, which includes a presentation of student research findings, will take place from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. on August 23rd at Temple Shalom of Naples.

State Representative J. Dudley Goodlette, Collier County Sheriff Don Hunter, Collier Emergency Management Director Dan Summers, Naples Civil Air Patrol Squadron Leader John Varsames, Executive Administrator for Lee County Schools Mike McNerney and Coast Guard Lieutenant Commander Chris O’Neil will comprise a panel of experts gathered to offer insight and respond to audience questions during the forum.

While a number of International College programs stress the importance of research and local applications, Professor Dr. Judith Kolva describes the analysis of Homeland Security as "perfectly suited" for students in the Interdisciplinary Studies program.

"Interdisciplinary Studies degrees are considered degrees of the future because graduates acquire comprehensive understanding of so many different disciplines," explains Dr. Kolva.

"Whether breaking down the components of an issue or building a foundation for clearer understanding of an issue, Interdisciplinary methodology involves integration of perspectives in terms of law, ethics, diversity, leadership, communication and more. Our students have learned that this same methodology was utilized to form our Homeland Security strategy. We were very fortunate to be able to interview Former Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge and in our conversations, he verified that our interdisciplinary concept was consistent with the Homeland Security perspective," adds Dr. Kolva.

Interdisciplinary Student and Research Project Leader Lisa Mead also affirmed the rationale behind the class project. "Homeland Security is being accomplished by the collective efforts of varying agencies with varying roles. Likewise, our group formed different teams to tackle different aspects of research. Our collective findings will provide more than content for this public forum, but will actually be published in a book that will be released later this year," says Mead.

Steve Perkins, a fellow student and U.S. Navy Veteran, will serve as Moderator for the Forum. Perkins says the students’ presentation and Q & A with the experts is something the public will not want to miss.

"Let’s face it, our lives have forever changed since September 11, 2001," says Perkins. "Our class has examined the manner in which these changes have been manifested not only in government operations, but within our schools, our churches, in our skies and on our seas. Local residents may never have been more secure than they are at this present time, but it’s hard to appreciate that without really understanding the degree of interagency cooperation responsible for fulfilling the mission of Homeland Security."

In addition to remarks from students and panelists, the forum will include participation from Gulf Coast High School’s Jr. ROTC and a musical performance by International College Vice President of Student Development/Dean of Students and Naples Opera Society President Dr. Ron Bowman.

There are no admission fees to attend the August 23 forum which will be held at Temple Shalom (4390 Pine Ridge Road) in Naples.
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