Chicago videoconferences Turkey

By Lila McDowell

The University of Chicago’s chapter of Americans for Informed Democracy (AID) will hold a videoconference this Tuesday with students at Dogus University in Istanbul, Turkey.

The conference, which will focus on the topic of American Power and Global Security, is one in a series of initiatives that the group will take on this year. AID is a non-partisan organization that seeks to improve America’s worldwide reputation as well as to facilitate international communication and understanding. AID works from over 100 U.S. college and university campuses and an impressive number of countries around the world.

The videoconference is AID’s second official event of the year. Their first, the town hall-style Hope Not Hate initiative, was a great success, according to Rebecca Schildkret, the group’s campus coordinator. According to Schildkret, AID’s founder, “Of 80 people that came, over a third were Muslim students and Muslim-Americans from the Chicago area. Many were present Thursday to discuss their concerns and ask adult leaders of the Muslim community what they could do to help change the negative light that Muslims have been portrayed in since 9/11.”

Schildkret says that she started the group because she felt a need existed on campus and in the Chicago area for an international forum on the topic of democracy in America and throughout the world. “No such political group or activist organization on campus existed to fill the gap that AID has,” she said.

Tuesday’s videoconference is a part of AID’s Face to Face series, which will host 10 videoconferences between students at U.S. universities and their peers in both European and Middle Eastern countries. The initiative targets campuses in the Midwest, such as Earlham College, Middle Tennessee State University, University of South Dakota, and the University of Texas.

The Chicago campus event will take place in the videoconference room at 1307 East 60th Street. Students looking for information on background materials should e-mail Rebecca Schildkret at