Albion College Student Selected for Global Forum on Democracy

July 17, 2023

By Ward Mullens

Junior Kara Anderson has been selected as the Albion College student delegate for the annual Athens Democracy Forum Sept. 27-29.

First convened by The New York Times in 2013, the Forum is designed to explore the most pressing issues facing democracy and to discuss real, actionable solutions for the future. Attendees include leaders from government, business, civic society and the nonprofit sector. Last year’s guest speaker was Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

“I am both extremely grateful and excited for the opportunity to learn more about democracy and how to protect it,” Anderson said. “I am especially looking forward to meeting new people and engaging in conversations with individuals who have different backgrounds and perspectives.”

Anderson, of Lansing, learned about the opportunity through the Gerald R. Ford Institute for Leadership in Public Policy and Service at Albion College, which provides students with the chance to pursue their passion for public policy and community leadership.

“As a member of the Ford Institute, Kara undertands the principles of value-based leadership, understands the policy process and knows how to advocate for the issues she is passionate about,” said Carrie Walling, faculty director of the institute. “Her training in political science and human rights combined with her passion for democracy and the rule of law has equipped her to be a full participant in the Athens Democracy Forum.”

The trip is provided free of charge by the Global Liberal Arts Alliance, GLAA, in partnership with the Great Lakes Colleges Association, GLCA, and The Democracy and Culture Foundation. The GLCA represents 18 schools across Michigan, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Indiana. The GLAA is an alliance of 30 schools across the globe and includes the schools of the GLCA.

“We are looking for articulate students with a knowledge of the forum themes,” said Simon Gray, GLCA senior program director and GLAA director of programming. “Before the delegates were selected, I had the opportunity to participate in the Challenging Borders Conference at Albion. Kara played a key role in the conference, and I saw her in action. She is impressive.”

Anderson was one of only 24 student delegates selected across the GLAA. She is only the fifth Albion College student to be a delegate to the Forum since 2017. Students are selected based on essays they submit.

“I chose to apply because I am passionate about democracy and want to work towards making positive change in the world,” said Anderson, who is a double major in political science and English.

Anderson is a founding member and student director of the Albion College Human Rights Lab and is a 2023 Edmonds Summer Fellow with Human Rights Educators USA. Additionally, Anderson is part of the Prentiss M. Brown Honors Program and the Ford Institute. She is president of the Albion Chapter of Phi Alpha Delta Pre-Law Fraternity and vice president of the student senate. She plans to attend law school after graduation.

Her work for the conference has already started. Anderson has been paired with three other delegates to explore their ideas about democracy.

“There are students from across the globe,” Anderson said. “I am in a small group with students from Uganda, India and an Ohio student who is living in Slovakia.”

It’s the sharing of ideas with like-minded people that Anderson said she enjoys.

“I hope to leave the Forum with more knowledge, connections, experience and skills to help me move forward in my efforts to defend rights and democracy,” she said. “If it wasn’t for Albion College, I would not have this opportunity. It’s a small school but there are a lot of opportunities. The faculty and staff care about the students and help make them aware of all of their opportunities.”