My name is Michael Gemmell and I’m an exchange student from Sydney, Australia studying at The George Washington University. My majors include philosophy, international affairs and political economy. I was drawn to the Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach because it is an organization that is guided by the teachings and principles espoused by Christ. These values are deeply committed to justice and offered in the service of others who are most in need.
In pursuit of justice and peace, my time at the Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach will be focused on issues of economic and environmental justice, mainly focused on promoting fair and beneficial trade policy in the upcoming Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) as well as championing environmental concerns in the proposed 2013 Farm Bill. These policies, if left as they currently stand, have the potential to impede on smaller governments’ sovereignty to better the lives of their own citizens and cause widespread environmental degradation.
As all people have a fundamental right to those things required for human decency, the health of our communities depends heavily upon the health of the economy and the environment. These two issues intertwine at many levels yet we should not automatically assume that they exist in a dichotomy or that one should always take immediate preference. In solidarity we seek justice and aim to improve the lives of people who are overlooked or discounted, impoverished or unable to speak. In this task both the economy and the environment must be nurtured in a way that serves the well-being of all.
I am very much looking forward to this summer internship and the many opportunities that will arise. I’m excited to be working with and meeting a new group of people from across America and joining with them to learn and achieve together. A sense of community is very important to me and I feel that this aspect of the internship will bring the team closer together, particularly on the different issues that each of us will be concerned with.