Students launch Penn State Global Forum blog

With so many national and cultural perspectives in the SIA student body and so many self-selected future leaders, educators, policymakers, and thinkers, it may be only natural that a traditional class period cannot accommodate all that SIA students want to share and debate. SIA students recently launched the Penn State Global Forum, an international affairs news and analysis blog with more than 20 writers and editors. The blog can be followed on Twitter @psuglobalforum.

Executive Editor Ernesto Alvarado explained that recruiting writers and editors was easy. He and co-founder Patty Bloom '12, who also serves as executive editor, reached out to classmates and quickly assembled a cast of more than 20 writers and editors.

They find blogging to be the most suitable medium for communicating about international affairs issues. As Alvarado noted on a May 2 entry, "We don't have hardback books because every year our field changes with the dynamics of each country in the world."

Alvarado's former work as a writer for OYE, a Latino student newsletter, helped prepare him for his role as an editor. Blogging allows a writer to quickly improve his or her work, he explained. “Writers enjoy focusing on things they feel strongly about,” he said. Alvarado is especially interested in Latin America and wants to focus his career on international human rights issues like human trafficking, and immigration; he will spend the summer as an intern with LASPAU, an organization affiliated with Harvard University dedicated to advancing higher education in the Americas.

Contributors have addressed a broad spectrum of topics to date, including immigration and education policy, naturalization in the U.S., the Arab revolution, the death of Osama Bin Laden, and international development questions. The founders envision that the blog could become a hub of international news and debate and grow much bigger than the SIA and Penn State audiences. To date, the blog's growth has been encouraging.

“Within the first few days we had regular visitors from around the world,” said Alvarado. “It's been amazing.”