Olson attends leadership conference

Olson attends leadership conference Drake T. Olson was selected from thousands of applicants to attend the third annual International Youth Leadership Conference held July 7-12 in Prague, Czech Republic. Olson represented The University of South Dakota and Vermillion among 80 students selected worldwide for the conference. Every continent was represented at the conference except Antarctica.

The conference was a week-long student forum on world politics, international law, and international relations. Students were active participants in simulations of important world organizations: A United Nations Security Council Crisis meeting, and a Model Parliament simulation that took place at the Old Czech parliament.

The conference welcomed students from over 65 countries worldwide, with a strong

emphasis on cross-cultural interaction and international com-munication.

Conference activities include cultural tours of the historic city of Prague, visits to foreign

embassies, guest lectures (Af-ghanistan, Ireland, and Po-land), banquet dinners, opening and closing ceremonies, and a time to tour Prague. Students actually graduate from the conference during the closing ceremonies.

The conference was held at an elegant 16th century castle, Zamek Zahradky, just north of Prague. Olson enjoyed the conference and tours of the Czech Republic.

"It's not often that you can conduct simulations with actual representatives who have grown up in different countries. This puts an entirely new approach to simulations that I have participated in before. Imagine debating international issues with someone from Russia, Turkey, Israel, Australia, Canada, Estonia, Italy, England, Ireland, Scotland, or even New Zealand. It truly puts the simulations in a 'real world' atmosphere. I had a great time representing South Dakota and making international friends."

The conference is an annual conference held in Prague and Olson recommends applying for anyone interested while at the age of 17-25. "It is a true international experience of a lifetime," Olson said.

Olson is a city councilman representing the central ward in Vermillion. He is beginning his graduate studies of public administration at The University of South Dakota. Olson was also a W.O. Farber Center for Civic Leadership student at USD from 1998-2002.

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