BW Students Network with Leaders of the IMO

March 1, 2014

Two senior Baldwin Wallace students, Sarah Brigadier '15 and Charles Henderson '14, received a once in a lifetime opportunity to attend the biennial International Maritime Organization General Session in London as guests of BW alumnus, Vice Admiral Peter Neffenger.
By Nathan Cole '17

Sponsored by VADM Neffenger and the department of political science, Brigadier and Henderson were chosen out of a pool of nineteen applicants.

Before the trip, Brigadier and Henderson prepared by researching the IMO extensively with the aid of their advisor, Dr. Judy Krutky. By the time they arrived in London, both students were able to facilitate communication between international delegates on issues affecting global policy. Leaders within the IMO gave Henderson and Brigadier the ins-and-outs of their roles.

Every day during their trip, Brigadier and Henderson sat in on assembly sessions. They were even able to attend receptions held by the Japanese Embassy, Russian Embassy, Chinese Embassy, and the Turkish Reception among others. These experiences gave them both an inside look into the structure and functions of the IMO.

In addition to immersing themselves in the realm of international politics, Brigadier and Henderson were able to spend some time touring the city of London, such as sightseeing and enjoying dinner with Admiral Robert Papp from the United States.

As a Sustainability and Biology double major with a minor in International Affairs, Brigadier set out to use this experience to network and learn more about the environmental issues concerning the IMO. The experience exceeded her expectations. Brigadier said, "When I am able to bring all of those experiences back with me and use them to teach and encourage others to explore and engage in similar activities, it gives me a deeper sense of purpose in my own life."

Henderson, a double major in International Affairs and Political Science with a minor in History, valued the opportunity for professional development. He also enjoyed being able to apply what he has learned in the traditional classroom setting towards real life.

Henderson and Brigadier also interviewed several delegates from the IMO, including Captain Eduardo Raul Polemann from Argentina, Captain Aleksander Gersen from Israel, and VADM Neffenger. When asked how the IMO works, Neffenger's words encompassed the invaluable purpose Brigadier and Henderson received on this trip. He replied, "It's the people that make this thing work. A lot of these people I've known for many years, and it's always a reunion when we meet here again. Those connections foster trust, that's the human element of international cooperation."