Craig Simon 2019

Craig Simon 2019
Craig Simon 2019

NOTE: Craig Simon is a Kokomo High School Class of 2014 graduate. This column reflects Craig’s experiences earning a Master’s degree in Paris, and moving to China to pursue a PhD.

      Ever since I first left the United States in 2013 – when I traveled with the Kokomo School Corporation and the City of Kokomo to our sister city of Dongyang, Zhejiang, China – the travel bug has infected me. I see no cure in sight.

      I have visited more than 40 countries since that first experience abroad, and I will continue to explore this world because of the values that Kokomo Schools instilled in me. During my time at Kokomo High School, I learned the importance of international mindedness, cultural competency, tolerance, patience, and persistence. These qualities shaped me for this globalized world in which we live. Because of Kokomo Schools, I currently am working on my PhD in International Studies.
Craig Simon 2019

      Recently I finished my Master’s degree in Diplomacy & International Law at the American University of Paris. During the regular school year I completed courses on topics such as international relations, humanitarian response, conflict resolution, negotiation skills, the United Nations system, international criminal law, etc. The capstone of my program, however, was a summer practicum at The Hague, Netherlands, and a month long intensive class in international human rights law at the University of Oxford.

      Although I was studying in the homeland of Rembrandt and Vermeer, I was not in the Netherlands to study Dutch art history; I was there to gain knowledge of a different sort… knowledge of laws, jurisprudence, history of war crimes, and more, was brushed onto my mind. I visited the International Criminal Court, the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, and other international legal institutions.
Craig Simon 2019

      Following my time in Holland, I moved into my room at one of the world’s most historic universities. At Oxford, my course was a partnership with George Washington Law School. I studied alongside George Washington students and other human rights protectors from around the world. My classmates included people from Australia, New Zealand, Finland, China, Peru, and Mexico, to name just a few. Together we read treaties, attended lectures, ate in the dining hall, visited pubs where authors like C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien discussed their work, and strolled along pathways that countless students have walked throughout the century.

      However, the highlight of this month was not the aforementioned activities; the highlight was the time spent with my tutors. Their knowledge and experience was literally world class. My teachers included current and former UN special rapporteurs. I learned about the right to health, housing, education, and peaceful assembly. My time at Oxford will not be forgotten.

      My current adventure has seen me off to China. In September 2018 I moved to Ningbo, China to attend the University of Nottingham’s Chinese campus. The University of Nottingham is ranked 82th in the world by QS World University Rankings 2019, and it is here I will complete a PhD in International Studies. I will be researching sub-national diplomacy – how states, provinces, and city governments practice diplomacy. I will study sister cities and other international city networks. And of course, since I will be living in China, I will be studying Mandarin. None of this would have been possible without the skills I developed while in Kokomo Schools.

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