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North American Studies Program

North American Studies students go binational

Mar 13/11

North American Studies students recently participated, for the second consecutive year, in the annual Crossing Borders Multi-disciplinary Student Conference on the United States, Canada and Border Issues held at the Americana Conference Resort and Spa in Niagara Falls, Ontario, March 10-12, 2011.

Adam Clemens, Faye Hampson, Katie Cuthbert, Kristen Merrett, Veronica Ficon and Kevin Dyce presented original research developed as part of the capstone course in the North American Studies program, “NO 401: Borders and Boundaries in North America”, taught by Dr. Katherine Ann Roberts, on topics ranging from Canadian-American policy in the Arctic, border management, Canadian mining in Chile and the “othering” of Canada within the US terror narrative. 

Crossing Borders, now in its 17th year, is organized by SUNY Buffalo and Brock Universityand sponsored by the United States Consular General Toronto, the Canadian Consular General Buffalo and the Niagara Region Binational Economic and Tourism Alliance. It featured graduate and undergraduate students from several US and Canadian Universities including SUNY Plattsburgh, Hofstra and St. Bonaventure. Aside from the Brock student participation, the Laurier students constituted the largest Canadian contingent.

Faye Hampson and Katie Cuthbert’s work on the border was part of a panel attended by Ms. Marta Moszczenska, Canadian Consul General Buffalo and Mr. Kevin M. Johnson, United States Consul General Toronto; a lively discussion ensued. For Faye, "it was nerve-wracking presenting in front of governmental representatives, but it was rewarding to hear that our opinions as students were important to such significant political figures. I would definitely encourage students studying North America to take full advantage of an opportunity like this conference."

Katie Cuthbert, president of the North American Studies Student Association, thoroughly enjoyed hearing American students discuss topics about Canada. “It was very strange but refreshing! Perhaps they think of Canadians after all”. She was also struck by the number of people from both Canada and the US who had crossed the border and relocated on the other side for either work or school and had many binational connections.

Adam Clemens also thoroughly enjoyed the experience. “The conference made me really take pride in the fact that I will be leaving Laurier with a North American Studies degree. I feel this major has given me a competitive advantage in entering the working world as I am now aware of the relationship between not just Canada and the United States, but also between Canada and Mexico and the larger relationship which North America has with the rest of the world.” If possible, Adam would like to participate in the conference again next year.

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