July 7, 2003




Southeast European Students Visit D.C. Area for Leadership Program

CUA and Towson Host Students from former Eastern Bloc Countries


A group of 94 high school students and their adult advisers from Southeast European countries that were formerly under Communist rule are participating this month in a four-week leadership program hosted jointly by The Catholic University of America and Towson University. 


Participants in the Southeast European Youth Leadership Institute, who arrived in Washington July 2, are from Kosovo, Macedonia, Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia and Montenegro. Twenty-three adult participants are accompanying the students to facilitate the program.


About half of the students will attend classes at Catholic University in Washington, D.C., while the other half will study at Towson in Towson, Md. Now in its third year, the SEEYLI leadership program is co-sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, the Open Society Institute, the International Debate Association, CUA and Towson.


The mission of SEEYLI is to foster an open society and to create opportunities for students, teachers, lawyers and journalists to hone their leadership skills for the difficult task of running and caring for their own societies, said CUA Professor of sociology Bronislaw Misztal.


“For newly emerging democracies and for post-communist and post-totalitarian societies that are still healing their cultural and political identity wounds, the issue of critical importance is how to create social capital out of fragmented ties and fractured identities,” said Misztal, who has done extensive work in Southeastern Europe and will teach at the SEEYLI camp.


“This program aims at demonstrating to young people from Southeastern Europe … how they can develop synergistic interaction with the civil society on the one hand, and with the government institutions on another,” said Misztal.


While at CUA, students will participate in workshops, field trips and discussion groups on

law, politics and the art of debate and public speaking. The law portion of the leadership

camp will include classes in international law, civil rights law, criminal procedure and theory, and trial procedure and theory, taught by professors and law practitioners. 


When they delve into politics, the students will participate in workshops focusing on youth empowerment/grassroots activism, the rhetoric of news media, differing perspectives on conflict resolution and the U.S. political system. 


For the debate sessions, domestic and international debate experts will lecture and provide instruction for the students. SEELYI participants then will organize their own debates and present them on Monday, July 28, at the 2003 International Debate Festival at CUA. 


Opportunities for media coverage include the following:

·         Guest lecture by Janusz Bugajski, director of the Eastern Europe Project at the Center for Strategic and International Study, Thursday, July 17, from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

·         Panel discussion involving representatives of Southeast European embassies Friday, July 18, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

·         2003 International Debate Festival at CUA Monday, July 28, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.


For more information about the SEEYLI program and its summer leadership camp, including a list of guest lecturers and student participants, visit the SEEYLI Web site at: http://www.idebate.org/seeyli. For more information, contact Aaron Fishbone, assistant director of the SEEYLI program at CUA, at 202-319-6871 or 202-319-5447.


MEDIA: Interviews with SEEYLI organizers, participants and faculty can be arranged.

   For more information, contact Catherine Lee at 202-319-5600.