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The Daily Tar Heel

Club to Promote International Interaction

The first meeting of Rotaract featured two political science professors offering different perspectives on world affairs.

The organization, called Rotaract, brought UNC political science professors Deil Wright and James White to lecture on the Pearl Harbor and World Trade Center attacks.

Rotaract, which is affiliated with the Rotary Club, is an international program aimed at promoting positive interaction between young people around the world.

"Our goal is to provide an opportunity for American and international students to interact, learn from one another and provide services for the community," said John Huang, the organization's president.

Titled "Pearl Harbor and the World Trade Center Attacks: Similarities, Differences," the event offered students a chance to hear two different perspectives of the international conflicts.

Club members said they wanted the event to allow students to both reflect on and contribute to discussion about the international disasters while promoting student awareness of the club.

Wright opened the forum by immediately commenting on the relationship between Pearl Harbor and the attack on the twin towers.

"I'm going to talk about the attack on America -- 1941 and 2001," Wright said.

While presenting the audience with a set of slides of Pearl Harbor after the attack, Wright compared the reaction of the American people then to public reaction to the recent terrorist attacks.

Wright said scapegoating, a demand for more government security and the unity felt by many Americans after the bombing at Pearl Harbor are now being repeated, 60 years later.

White, who specializes in Asian politics and economics, followed Wright with a different perspective on the attacks. White said the lessons learned from Pearl Harbor, which varied from not underestimating enemies to the opinion that sometimes there is a place for violence, should be applied to the current situation after the attacks.

The event then shifted into audience commentary.

When asked what college students should do to help America's situation, White responded that all Americans might have to take small precautions on a regular basis.

"We may find ourselves in a proactive campaign against terrorism that may call for us to live a more careful life" White said.

Students said they left the forum better informed and enthusiastic about having an opportunity to openly discuss the disastrous events.

"Any time that people in a controversial event can just go out and talk about it, I think it's a beautiful thing," said sophomore Fabio Ortiz.

Favorable student response to the forum led students to join the Rotaract club.

"I want to do some service," said senior Adam Jones. "It's definitely a time for people to really think about politics and find out where they stand."

The University Editor can be reached at udesk@unc.edu.

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