Thinking Globally at the 2018 Camden Conference

March 19, 2018

Lareina, Sophia, Mercer, and Keenan excited to be at the Camden Conference. Photo: Lauren Kennedy

What do Harvard Government professors, former translators for Nixon, and former Obama advisors on China have in common? They were all distinguished speakers at the 2018 Camden Conference on International Affairs.

Over the weekend of February 22-24, I accompanied six Gould students to the 2018 Camden Conference. Gould seniors Eva McMillan ’18, Sophia Bai ’18, Keenan Miller ’18, Lareina Zhang’18, Mercer Chen ’18, and Laura Brechtelsbauer ’18 all took away a valuable experience.

Gould seniors braving the cold to learn about and discuss global issues at the 2018 Camden Conference.

According to Mercer Chen, “What I loved the most about the conference was the quality of the speakers. They were all extremely [well] qualified and had very impressive experiences. One (Chas W. Freeman, Jr.) served as President Nixon’s primary interpreter during his 1972 visit to China. These are some very inspiring people who made me realize that the world has many challenges awaiting our young generation.”

The students gave two excellent presentations to two separate but equally authentic audiences. The first, New World Disorder in the News, was delivered to 75 of their peers from the eleven other Maine high schools in attendance. The second presentation focused on what they had taken away from the conference and was delivered at an all-school assembly back at Gould.

Sophia Bai ’18 presenting at assembly

Sophia Bai appreciated what she learned: “As a Chinese student studying in the U.S., I have always been curious about the relations between China and U.S. The Camden Conference speakers dispelled a lot of my confusion and gave me a close understanding of the history, current state, and future picture of U.S.-China relations.”

Eva & Laura between speakers at the Camden Conference | Photo: Lauren Kennedy

In his presentation to Gould students and faculty Chen sounded a note on the importance of civic engagement: “If you want to have real change in the real world, you will have to participate in politics. It could be as simple as going out to vote when you turn 18, campaigning for a candidate you like, or running for office as a state legislator in the future,” he said.


Camden Conference

“If you want to have real change in the real world, you will have to participate in politics.”

– Mercer Chen ’18


The spring, AP Comparative Government students will be researching and submitting essays to the 2018 Camden Conference Essay Contest on this year’s theme of “New World Disorder.” Specific topics will include:

  • nationalism/populism,
  • social and economic globalization,
  • climate change,
  • population growth,
  • and cyber insecurity.

Last year’s essay award winners included Gould’s Zoe Bean ’17 (1st place) and Sam McMillan ’17 (3rd place).

Brad Clarke
Dr. Clarke is the Associate Dean of Academics and History Department Chair at Gould. He loves his family, trail running, playing baseball, and his epic collection of vinyl records.
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