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Ralph J. Bunche Center Howard University

Allison Mills
Studies Law in
Rome, Italy

Although she has had previous overseas experience, Allison Mills of Willow Groves, PA, was on her first tour abroad this past summer as a student of law.


Allison Mills

Now in her second year in the HU Law School, she spent the summer touring and studying in Italy. Assisted by the Ralph J. Bunche International Affairs Center and others, Allison took up comparative criminal law and comparative health law during a six week session at the Loyola University School of Law, Rome Center.

She was one of 70 students under the Loyola Program from such institutions as Kent State, the University of San Diego, UCLA, and the University of Texas.

Ms. Mills was able to improve her Italian language skills by visiting such sites as Naples, Venice, the Italian Rivera, Brindisi, Milan, and Palermo, taking advantage of every opportunity to talk with Italians. She had a background of three years of studying Italian in high school and also two previous short visits to the country.
Allison is a graduate of St. Joseph’s College in Philadelphia. On an earlier trip to Europe, she visited Britain, Switzerland, Italy, Germany, and Belgium, "back-packing," she said, most of the way.

"I always immerse myself in the culture," she says, "in order to get in touch with diverse social, economic, and political issues confronting the people."
The Pennsylvania native encourages other students to take advantage of similar opportunities to travel and study abroad. "It is enlightening," she says.

"In my travels, I was in the presence of breathtaking history and cutting edge modernization.”

Lagos Internship Is "Great Experience"

One of last summer’s State Department interns, Vanessa Smith, an HU major in broadcast journalism, was posted to Lagos, Nigeria, in political and public affairs and found it "the most exciting educational experience possible…something which opened the window of opportunity as I never could have imagined."

Writing to friends at Howard, she observed, "Overcrowded visa lines; heavy security; and a lonely protester who waits aimlessly to get the attention of the American people. Welcome to the American Consulate, Lagos!"

The young Howardite had a variety of experiences, including observing human issues, writing biographies of prominent Nigerian officials, and working with Nigerian Journalists.

The most exciting event, she said, was the visit of then President Clinton to Nigeria, during which she was designated "gifts officer." Commenting on the detailed logistics of the visit,

Vanessa said, "I never imagined that some people’s jobs were to figure out where the President was going to stand, and whether a village had bathroom accommodations."

Vanessa said the Clinton visit and her assignment enabled her, for the first time, to see inside the National Assembly; however, "my political excitement came when I attended the State Dinner."

Commenting on her overall experience, Smith said: "I never knew about the Foreign Service before. It is truly a hidden secret. It allows you to open your eyes and develop relationships with people all over the world. This experience was so unbelievable I extended my stay."

"I am very thankful for my time in Nigeria as ‘an acting Foreign Service Officer’ and I have told everyone that they need to see for themselves that life in the Foreign Service is truly where it is at!"

Links Sponsor Forum on Middle East Issues

Howard University’s Blackburn Center provided the setting in March for an educational symposium on the Middle East sponsored by the Potomac Chapter of the Links, Inc.

The Bunche Center co-sponsored the intercultural event designed to foster a greater understanding of Arabic speaking people in the U.S. and of U.S. policy toward the Middle East in the wake of the events of "9/11". The focus was on how such developments might affect people of color.

A panel of Middle East experts – Ms. Helen Samhan of the Arab American Institute; Professor Edmund Ghareeb, Georgetown University Professor, and Howard University Professor Dr. Robert Cummings – was chaired by Dr. Ronald Walters of the University of Maryland.

Middle Eastern inspired fashions designed by Sechar Peerzaada were also on display during the gathering.

Beside members of the Potomac chapter and their guests were members of the Metropolitan Area Link chapter presidents; youth from the D.C. public school’s International Studies Program, and a number of girls from the Potomac Chapter’s Jefferson Junior High School’s "High Expectation Program’’. Mrs. Sally Schwartz who administers the D.C. High School International Studies Program also was present.

Mrs. Roscoe Dellums is chair of the International Trends and Services Committee of the Potomac Chapter of Links, Inc.


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