MODEL UN STUDENTS MEET THE DIRECTOR OF THE UNITED STATES AND EUROPE PROJECT ON TURKEY
Mr. Michael Perrins, Director of International Programs, also serves as an Academic Member of the CCWA (Cleveland Council on World Affairs) which gives him special access to numerous
events held by the CCWA at the Union Club in downtown Cleveland. On Wednesday night, Mr. Kemal Kirisici, Director of The United States and Europe Project on Turkey at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C., was scheduled to speak at the CCWA's first Committee on Foreign Relations "Dinner Dialogue" event. Throughout the year, the CCWA hosts eight guest speakers which Mr. Perrins invites members of St. Ed's Model United Nations to join. Due to scheduling conflicts, Edsmen were unable to attend Mr. Kirisici's presentation in the evening, so he offered to visit St. Ed's and meet with our Model UN Leadership Team personally. The Model UN Leadership Team is comprised of Model UN President Coleman Isner '20, Vice-President Richard Perrins '20 and Training Officer Logan Indone '20 as well as John Foertch '21, Emerson Gray '21, Andrew Klare '21, Josh Litten '21, Ryan McMaken '21, Daniel Miller '21, Daniel Novoa '21, Adam Pulizzi '21, Nathaniel Simon '21, Connor Stanton '21, Sebastian Vanegas '21, Sam Richardson '22, Tommy Foertch '23, Kade Hickman '23 and William Perrins '23.
During his visit, Mr. Kirisici spoke about the history of the volatility of the Ottoman Empire, the impact of the First and Second World Wars, and the creation of the secular Republic of Turkey and how its democratic structure has undergone pressure and change in the wake of the rise of a greater Islamic fundamentalist awareness. He touched upon the geopolitical pressures and competing interests that have been brought about by the recent regional wars and the rising threats of regional security. Mr. Kirisici also spoke about the drift away from the previous, close-knit relationship between Turkey and the United States, which has led to both countries having internal, domestic and international roots, which have been made more acute by the purchase of a Russian S400 Missile Defense System. This purchase is seen as a strategic threat by the United States and has led to the suspension of the F35 Multi-purpose Jet Project between the United States and Turkey. Mr. Kirisici also discussed the major United States airbase at Incirlik in Turkey, which is possibly under threat of closure and could create a negative economic impact that would be disastrous for Turkey.
"Mr. Kirisici touched upon huge issues of global and regional significance, which is something our Model UN members are highly interested in. Some of these topics Mr. Kirisici spoke about are issues regularly featured during Model UN Conferences that our students participate in," says Mr. Perrins. "Our Edsmen were thrilled by Mr. Kirisici's personal anecdotes and his wide knowledge and understanding about these global issues."