July 23, 2007

DC senior learns about global health at Rotary seminar

Cokato Dassel Rotary sends Logan Johnson to World Affairs Seminar

By Kristen Miller
Staff Writer

Dassel-Cokato senior Logan Johnson was nominated by the Cokato Dassel Rotary to attend this year’s World Affairs Seminar that took place this past June in Wisconsin. Johnson reported to the Rotary about the experience at its July 12 meeting.

This is the first year Rotary has sent a student to the seminar and did so because it wanted to offer more opportunities for student involvement at a global level, said past president Kelly Babekuhl.

The World Affairs Seminar began with a professor from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, where the seminar is takes place yearly.

The seminar is done in partnership with Rotary International to “bring about a better understanding of world problems through a study of current issues, while at the same time providing the opportunity to discuss those issues with other young people from other countries,” according to the World Affairs Seminar web site.

This is done to promote a better understanding of international conflicts for the purpose of being solved by future world leaders, the site reported.

This year’s seminar was based on the issue of global health, with speakers and doctors from all over the world discussing “Prescription for Survival–Who’s Responsible?”

Johnson was among the 600 national and international high school students in attendance, along with five other Minnesota students, he said.

He learned a lot from the week-long seminar including promoting peace by learning from one another, and that global health is indeed reachable.

“It’s not just some huge problem that’s impossible to solve,” Johnson said.

Although Johnson didn’t know much about global health before the seminar, he knew it was an important issue.

Johnson also learned the best way to promote peace is to learn from one another – people need to work together both globally and locally in order for everyone’s needs and interests to be met, he said.

During his presentation to the Cokato Dassel Rotary, Johnson explained part of the issue with global health is that it is a collective action problem in which people wait for others to do what needs to be done.

Education is another obstacle to global health. People around the world lack the education to know vaccines for diseases are necessary for prevention, Johnson explained.

One of Johnson’s favorite speakers was Dr. John Francis in his presentation “Walking, Listening, Peace, and Health.”

Francis was in San Francisco when he noticed oil in the water from a nearby oil spill. From then on, he decided not to drive and instead, walk everywhere.

Francis hadn’t been in a vehicle for 17 years until he was hit by a car and needed to ride in an ambulance, although he did consider walking to the hospital, Johnson said.

Along the way, Francis received his PHD in environmental science to help create international rules for safe transport of oil by sea.

Johnson encourages others who may have the opportunity to go to the World Affairs Seminar.

Through the seminar, Johnson met many new friends by opening up to other people and interacting during group discussions, he said.

By meeting an array of diverse people, Johnson learned, “There is a world outside of DC,” he said.

Johnson’s future career plans are uncertain, but he knows from this experience, he likes to work with people and interact with others, he said.

Cokato Dassel Rotary will send another student this fall to Camp Enterprise, a three-day business related seminar in Minnesota.

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