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Stories this week at Wake Forest University

December 15, 2009


President Obama plans to move a number of terrorism suspects to Thomas Correctional Center in Illinois. But before prisoners can be moved, a nervous Congress must agree to house the detainees on American soil. Wake Forest University Assistant Professor of Political Science Will Walldorf says the debate over Guantanamo should be a larger debate about U.S. human rights policy. “I think the President will get the votes he needs, but the move will likely cause vigorous debate that will be important for America’s human rights policy going forward,” says Wake Forest University Assistant Professor of Political Science Will Walldorf. “The U.S. wants to change our Bush-era image but moving prisoners from the Guantanamo detention center is only a small first step in untangling a very complex and muddled human rights policy since 911.” Walldorf is an expert in U.S. foreign policy and human rights. His recent book,  “Just Politics: Human Rights and the Foreign Policy of Great Powers,” was recently named Best Book in International Security by the International Studies Association. He is available for interviews over the holiday recess.

Contact:  Kerry M. King, or (336) 758-5237

WAKE FOREST STUDENTS HEAD TO BRAZIL AND INDIA ON SERVICE TRIPS Twenty-one students are spending winter break on service trips abroad. Ten are headed to Santarem, Brazil, in cooperation with Amizade volunteer programs, to build afterschool centers for children. Eleven are headed to Calcutta, India, with the City of Joy program to work with Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity to serve the poor. Students leave for their destinations on December 27 and return January 12. Interviews can be arranged with staff and student leaders before or after the trips. Brighid Jensen, assistant director of student development, can also provide information.

Contact:  Kerry M. King, or (336) 758-5237


ETHNIC IDENTITY HELPS ADOLESCENTS FIND MEANING IN LIFE—A new study by Wake Forest University Assistant Professor of Psychology Lisa Kiang has found that close ties to an ethnic group foster a positive sense of meaning and purpose in adolescents.  Kiang studied 579 Latin American, Asian and European-American high school seniors and found that adolescents who felt strongly connected to their ethnic group also expressed a clearer sense of meaning in their lives than adolescents without close ethnic ties.   “This sense of meaning in life is, in turn, associated with high self-esteem, good academic adjustment, healthy social relationships and other beneficial effects,” she says.  The study is the first that pinpoints meaning and purpose as an explanation for why ethnic identity has such a positive effect on other aspects of adolescents' wellbeing.   “Our results suggest that one way to enhance adolescents' meaning in life is to provide cultural support and to encourage adolescents' connection with their ethnic group,” she says. “Fostering ethnic identity with an eye towards promoting adolescents' deeper sense of meaning in life could perhaps provide the most favorable outcomes, both psychologically and academically.”

Contact:  Kerry M. King,  or (336) 758-5237

Press Contacts:

Kerry King
(336) 758-6084

Ellen Sterner Sedeno
(214) 546-8893

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