Three University of Lynchburg students will speak at an international forum in Kazakhstan next week, taking on topics such as immigration, gender inequality, and plastic pollution.
After they return, they will present their work and talk about the experience of visiting Kazakhstan at 3 p.m. Friday, September 27, in Schewel Hall room 231. The public and media are invited to attend.
Kazakh-American Free University selected Wendy Borkoski ’20, Juan Borga ’20, and Claudia Lopez Perez ’22 to participate in the school’s International Student Forum on Modern Global Challenges. They will share the platform with Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Nigeria, and other countries. Dr. Richard Burke, a Lynchburg English professor who spent a semester as a Fulbright scholar at KAFU in 2017, will attend as well.
The Lynchburg students going to Kazakhstan share a love for travel, but they have different academic interests that inspired their topics.
Borkoski, an international relations major and Westover Honors student, prepared a presentation about plastic littering the world’s waterways, a topic she has researched while participating in the University of Lynchburg’s teams for Model United Nations and the European Union Simulation.
“It’s an important topic because plastics negatively affect our planet for their entire life cycle,” Borkoski said. “From their creation to their ‘destruction,’ they leak toxins into our soil, water, and air. … Humans are responsible for this destruction to our ecosystems, which makes it our responsibility to combat these human-made effects.”
Borga, a business administration and economics major, said his presentation was inspired by a Westover Honors class on migration. “My research paper revolves around how economic factors can affect modern day immigration, and what lessons we can draw from problems faced today,” he said.
Lopez Perez, an economics major, will share research about gender inequality, including how education plays a key role in leveling the playing field.
“I am very passionate about this topic, and it is very important to me that I will have the opportunity to present it at this global forum,” she said. “The fact that I can share my thoughts and ideas with so many people that are passionate about making an impact in the world is a very special opportunity.”
The forum will include presentations on topics related to leadership, the environment, technology, and civil society. It is part of KAFU’s 25th anniversary celebration.
The University of Lynchburg has been building a relationship with KAFU since Burke’s Fulbright visit to Kazakhstan in 2017. The partnership has led to other faculty members visiting Kazakhstan, and a study abroad trip is planned for the summer of 2020.