World events lead to faculty, student forum


Brad Stout | The Chart

Southern faculty members Dr. Dustin Faulstick, Dr. Shannon Connolly, Dr. Megan Bever and Dr. Bill Fischer held a forum on Nov. 18. The forum was meant to get conversation started regarding recent events in the world, in relation to Southern.

Due to recent terrorist events across the globe, and with Missouri Southern having a large study abroad group, Southern faculty members and students came together Wednesday to start a dialog.

On Friday, Nov. 13, Paris was rocked by a series of terrorist attacks at a soccer stadium, a concert venue and two restaurants. Since that time, Paris officials in cooperation with multiple intelligence agencies in the world have arrested several, but issued international arrest warrants for two suspects at large.

On Wednesday, Nov. 18, faculty members from Southern gathered with students to have a conversation as to what was happening in Paris, and how it relates to us here locally.

“We envision this as a pre-cursor to a much more formal event that will happen towards the end of the semester or next semester,” said Dr. Shannon Connolly, French lecturer at Southern.

Prior to the discussion beginning, a moment of silence was observed in memory of those killed in Paris.

“None of us are particular experts on what is going on, Dr. Connolly is an expert on France,” said Dr. Bill Fischer, assistant professor of history. “Having all the answers is not the goal of this forum, but rather get conversation started.”

Matt Roy, senior international studies major started the conversation asking the faculty members their thoughts on France and Russia talking about how to combat ISIS, as well as the United States’ role in talking with France and Russia.

“From the French context, I can tell you that France intervening in Syria is a relatively recent event,” Connolly said. “Before that, when France didn’t have any communication or policy with Syria, there were still unofficial [meetings] happening.”

Connolly added that French officials would fund trips to Syria themselves, in order to have conversations and keep dialog going.

“I think one of the best ways to combat terrorism is to remove the root cause,” Fischer said.

Ahmed Alshwaiky, EMT student from Saudia Arabia weighed into the conversation.

“Islam is a religion of peace, the word Islam translates to peace,” Alshwaiky said. “I was intimidated to come here, I stayed here because I liked it.”

Alshwaiky said he also feels the media we see should not be listened to because they are “poisoning our minds.”

Dr. Alan Marble, president of Southern attended and provided remarks.

“There are things in history, I never would’ve thought would have happened,” Marble said. “There were so many problems, I never thought would have gotten solved, but they did.”

“I wanted to re-encourage everyone that we will not make rash decisions about study abroad, and to thank our professors for setting this up,” Marble added.