The 65th annual Student Conference on U.S. Affairs (SCUSA), held by the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in November, brought together some of the brightest young minds in international relations. Among them was Grace Perkins, ’15, a fellow with the Project on International Peace & Security (PIPS) at William & Mary.
The four-day event is designed to “bridge the civilian-military divide,” and according to Perkins, “it is extremely successful in that sense.” By providing a forum for debate and discussion on pressing issues, SCUSA is described as having “been crafted over many years to provide engaged roundtable discussions, policy-focused paper development, diverse speakers and social interaction.”
During the conference Perkins — whose participation focused on strategic interests in Africa and the ways in which future demographic shifts on the continent will affect U.S. policy — delivered a policy brief with her roundtable peers.
Perkins reflected on her experiences with the following: “I knew I would meet like-minded international relations students from across the country, but I had no idea that spending four days living with the cadets in their barracks would so radically alter my view of the military … I left West Point with a more genuine appreciation of our armed forces.”
PIPS, housed at the Institute for the Theory & Practice of International Relations at William & Mary, is an undergraduate think tank comprising student fellows and research assistants who conduct faculty-guided, policy-relevant research and brief policymakers on their findings and recommendations. www.wm.edu/pips
Learn more about SCUSA, here: http://www.usma.edu/scusa/SitePages/Home.aspx