Westminster Freshmen Skype with Hong Kong Student Activist

Sixteen freshmen from Westminster College held an international meeting on Monday, November 3, 2014 with a student-activist (above, on screen) from Hong Kong. The student-activist shared her first-person perspective of the democracy protests that have dominated the world’s headlines in the past six weeks.

Stephanie Man, a senior business major from Hong Kong University, met with Dr. Kurt Jefferson’s Westminster Seminar students.  Jefferson’s seminar course, entitled, “The $10 Million Panda:  China Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow,” includes 16 freshmen from Illinois, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Texas, as well as China, Nepal, and Tanzania.

Man talked about the past month and the students’ call for a more representative system of local government for Hong Kong (which has been under the authority of the People’s Republic of China since 1997 when Britain turned the colony over to Beijing).

“She talked about how the protests were different from other protests.  They included university classes in the occupied space, music concerts, and sit-ins,” Jefferson said.

Dr. Jefferson is the assistant dean for global initiatives and the director of the Churchill Institute for Global Engagement.  He said that this is the first of two Skype events with Hong Kong protestors.  A journalism graduate student from Hong Kong will talk to the entire Westminster community in January 2015.

“It was a great experience for the students.  They were a bit quiet at first, but after hearing her fascinating story of how students were making a difference in Hong Kong, our students started to ask her questions,” said David McDermott, a senior transnational studies major and mentor for Jefferson’s Westminster Seminar course.

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