Front Page Summary: 

National TSA Reporter plays an important role in a regional leadership event focused on engaging students in matters of national and international significance.

Portions reprinted from the World Affairs Council of Philadelphia website

National TSA Reporter, Peter Andrews of Mount Pleasant High School in Wilmington, Delaware recently earned a spot to participate with fellow classmates in The World Affairs Council of Philadelphia (PA) Model Senate Foreign Relations Committee Hearings, held January 30, 2009. The World Affairs Council of Philadelphia is a private, nonprofit, nonpartisan educational organization dedicated to informing and engaging people of all ages on matters of national and international significance.

Established in 1949 as a forum for discussing differing points of view, the Council does not endorse candidates for public office or lobby for policies. The Council currently serves more than 75 corporate members and their executives, and nearly 2,000 individual members. As one of the top public policy forums in the nation, the Council also offers a diverse series of more than 30 informative programs each year, enabling members to see, hear, and question some of the most influential people of our time.

Each year, as many 20,000 students and teachers from more than 200 elementary and secondary schools in the greater Philadelphia area make use of extensive resource material, guest speakers, conferences, lectures, simulation programs, and field trips provided by the Council. “The World Affairs Council offers speaker programs throughout the year, many of which are free for students,” said Ms. Dana Trojan, advisor of the Mount Pleasant High School World Affairs Club.

In early November, 2008, students tried out for senator positions for the Model Senate Foreign Relations Committee Hearings. Over 40 students tried out for 20 spots and two Mount Pleasant High School students were selected, Phaedra Scott and Peter Andrews, National TSA Reporter.

This year, the World Affairs Council of Philadelphia partnered with the Foreign Policy Association's Great Decision Series and focused on the following four topics:

European Integration: Looking Ahead
U.S. Defense Policy: Forging A Consistent National Security Strategy
Latin America: the Next U.S. President's Agenda
U.S.-China Economic Relations: Evolving Rivalry

As the nation's longest running high school program of its kind, the Council's Model U.N. offers students the chance to become diplomats and participate in an action-packed day-long conference simulating various committees of the United Nations. To help students prepare, the Council has developed an extensive preparation process that includes briefing sessions, a full-day preparatory conference, a mentorship component, a Model U.N. Handbook and a variety of other resources. “Participating in the Model UN teaches them about public affairs research, delegate roles, model senate procedure, public speaking and leadership,” said Ms. Trojan.

“Students from 18 schools in the Tri-state (DE, PA, and NJ) area participated with about half serving as senators and half serving as committee witnesses. Four other students from Mount Pleasant High School served as witnesses on the various committees.” The witnesses went to one preparatory meeting in Philadelphia to help in the preparation of their testimonies. Peter and Phadra went to three preparatory sessions in December and January with the other Senators.”

Peter Andrews served the role of Senator Joseph Biden as the Chair of the Foreign Relations Committee and was responsible for addressing the entire group before and after the hearings. Additionally Peter was a member of the Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere, Peace Corps, and Narcotics Affairs. Phaedra Scott served as Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL as the Chairperson of the subcommittee: U.S. Defense Policy: Forging a Consistent National Security Strategy. Peter said “the Model Senate program was a wonderful experience. I was honored to have the role of Joe Biden--our new Vice President and a long-time representative of my home state. It was a terrific opportunity to meet and work with so many future leaders from all around the mid-Atlantic region.”

Ms. Trojan credits the students with taking the extra preparatory work including lots of research. She said “all the students involved were very enthusiastic, self-driven and motivated. They did their research and were very well prepared.”

TSA chapter advisor, Mr. John Brown said, “The Model Senate Program provides students the opportunity to integrate and apply the skills and knowledge they are learning in school to a real life simulation. They get to demonstrate the leadership skills that are taught through TSA activities, with meaningful peer interaction. Mr. Brown adds, “I am extremely thankful that activities of this nature are available to our students who choose to pursue advanced levels of leadership experiences as they prepare for their future careers.”

For almost five decades, the Council has sponsored a nationally acclaimed world affairs education program that has become a staple part of the curriculum of major school districts in southern Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey, and northern Delaware.