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New directors join SD World Affairs Council board to lead grassroots international efforts

Joining a 25-member board to direct the South Dakota World Affairs Council are, from left, Aaron Schultz, Jason Owens, Harriet Svec and Kathleen Fairfax.
Joining a 25-member board to direct the South Dakota World Affairs Council are, from left, Aaron Schultz, Jason Owens, Harriet Svec and Kathleen Fairfax.

Brookings S.D. (KELO AM) - The South Dakota World Affairs Council recently added four new directors to its governing board. The board sets policy, programs and activities for the organization. A nonpartisan, nonprofit, grassroots network dedicated to educating and engaging the public on critical global issues, the South Dakota World Affairs Council is based in Brookings on the campus of South Dakota State University.     New board members Kathleen Fairfax, Aaron Schultz, Jason Owens and Harriet Svec will share their expertise and interest in world affairs with SDWAC and its members. Their next meeting will be Wednesday, July 10 for 2014 strategic planning.   Fairfax has worked in international education for 27 years, at public and private universities and in the public sector. As assistant vice president for international affairs and outreach, she oversees academic programs for SDSU students studying abroad and for international students enrolled at SDSU. Fairfax also administers the university's online and continuing education programs, and operations at University Centers in Sioux Falls, Pierre and Rapid City. In addition to leading international education, she held a tenured position as a Foreign Service Officer in Washington, D.C. and Mexico City in the late 1980s and early 1990s.   Fairfax said she looks forward to serving on the SDWAC board and hopes to continue to find ways to encourage SDSU students and college students across the state to participate in the many projects and initiatives of the council.   Lt. Col. Schultz is an SDSU professor of military science and heads the university's Army ROTC program, training cadets to become commissioned officers in the Army, Army National Guard and Army Reserve. Cadets can enroll in military classes and graduate from Augustana College, Dakota State University or SDSU. Schultz brings a wealth of international experience to SDWAC. He was deployed during Operation Enduring Freedom in Kabul, Afghanistan, and in Iraq during Operation Desert Storm. Schultz also has participated in training events in Japan and South Korea.   "I believe my experience in the military will help the South Dakota World Affairs Council to emphasize the importance of cultural understanding, especially when we are visitors in other countries," Schultz said.   Owens is an SDSU associate professor of German. A native of Paducah, Ky., Owens has lived in Germany, Togo and Namibia. He has written on Germans in Africa and Africans in Germany. His research concerns the media and pop culture, especially as it involves ethnic-German minorities and minorities within Germany. His interests include the heritage of South Dakota Hutterites from Germany and Russia.   Owens said SDWAC has given him the opportunity to hear ideas of internationally known journalists, diplomats and analysts as well as South Dakotans who have traveled to other countries.   Svec is a charter member of SDWAC. She recently retired from SDSU after 17 years teaching computer science. During that time, she was involved in a number of international experiences including leading engineering students on a program in England.   Svec said life-changing international travel experiences are available to South Dakotans through SDWAC programming. She hopes her board service can help publicize those efforts, by using current technology in order to keep the organization's work fresh and attractive.   SDWAC is affiliated with the World Affairs Councils of America, based in Washington, D.C., which provides resources to address world affairs, particularly in six top national security-related areas: cybersecurity, energy independence, global economic realignment, the Middle East, global environmental issues and K-12 education. WACA and SDWAC have facilitated the Turkish Cultural Foundation in sponsoring 26 K-12 teachers from South Dakota to take educational tours of Turkey during the summer.   For more information on South Dakota World Affairs Council, contact Jeanne Jones Manzer, executive director, at 605-688-5416 or sdworldaffairs@gmail.com. Information is also available on their websiteon their Facebook page, or via Twitter

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