Scholars attend West Point conference on democracy and democratization
Frank Bencomo-Suarez, left, and Christian Bush attended West Point's Student Conference on US Affairs.
McConnell Scholars Frank Bencomo-Suarez (’18) and Christian Bush (‘18) participated in West Point Academy’s 68th Student Conference on U.S. Affairs. The Nov. 9-12 conference in New York matched civilian student delegates with West Point cadets to consider themes on “Democracy and Democratization.”
“Going to West Point was an incredible, once-in-a-lifetime experience,” Bencomo-Suarez said. “Getting to sleep in the same barrack as West Point cadets and live alongside them for a few days truly helps give one an understanding of what their lives are like.”
Beyond sharing living space, Bencomo-Suarez said that studying and conversing with student cadets on foreign policy was especially impactful.
“It allowed for a special opportunity to bridge the military-civilian divide and form meaningful friendships as we spoke on the situation of the United States and its future in the world,” he said.
SCUSA delegates attended panel discussions with national leaders on economic development, technology, global security, political radicalism, ethno-religious conflicts and democratization. Delegates offered policy recommendations for President-elect Donald Trump’s administration, and the top policy recommendation memo produced from the conference will be published in a top undergraduate academic journal.
“SCUSA 68 was a great opportunity to interact with other people who share my passion for Asian studies,” said Bush. “I am grateful for the students I met, both military and civilian, and it makes me even more excited to pursue my studies in public policy and global affairs,” he added.
Bencomo-Suarez, of Louisville, Ky., is a junior McConnell Scholar studying political science with a track in global affairs and international relations at the University of Louisville. He serves as vice president of the pre-law Harlan Scholars Program, is a member of the McConnell Center’s Moot Court Team and is a regular volunteer for the Louisville Zoo’s Youth Board.
Bush, of Louisville, Ky., is a junior McConnell Scholar studying political science, history and Asian studies at UofL. He is also a member of Beta Theta Pi Fraternity, UofL’s Student Government Association and the University Honors Program.