Seminars, Governments and Soirees

So one of the things that I like the most about Boston is the fact there is always so much to do, and there are so many other colleges around. About two weeks ago, we had our first Boston intercollegiate African soiree. The dress code was ‘classy’; the crowd was amazing, and the dancing insane. Some of my non-African freshmen friends who had never attended such a party before were blown away.

Other than partying, I have been up to more stuff (of course).  We had our first ballroom competition this semester on Sunday. It was amazing getting to dance waltz, foxtrot, rumba and swing after barely 2 months of learning the steps.  I did my fair share of stepping and got my toes crushed a couple of times, but I had a good time nonetheless. I would post pictures from the event but I have none that I’m in at the moment… I’ll definitely post some from the next competition 3 weeks from now.

Moving on, I have been at Harvard for two months now (yay me!), and about two weeks ago, I had one of my many “this is why I came to Harvard” moments.   Harvard has what we call ‘Freshman Seminars,’ which usually involve a big name in the faculty teaching a group of 12-15 freshmen (sometimes fewer) on an area they are really passionate about.  My seminar is on Negotiation and Conflict Management, taught by Professor Daniel Shapiro. He teaches at both Harvard Law School and Harvard Medical School and is the coolest professor I know.  Last week, our class project was ‘An International Negotiation.’  When we got into class,  Dan gave us background info on a 1990’s conflict involving two countries, and our job was to advise a senior government official  on how he should go about negotiating in order to avoid war in less than a week (all true, by the way). So we brainstormed in groups and came up with all these strategies, and then Dan walked out and came back to class, accompanied by a high-ranking government official in one of the countries at the time of the conflict! (I’m being deliberately vague here: my professor doesn’t want the surprise spoiled for future classes). So each of us told him what we thought he should do, and he responded saying why what we said could or couldn’t work and pointing us to all of the complexities involved in the situation.  It literally felt like we were part of a president’s war cabinet. A week after the class, I’m still excited. Look out for volume two… no vagueness- I promise!

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