By Jambar Contributor
The John Quincy Adams Society (JQAS), which focuses on foreign policy for world problem solving, was brought to campus last semester. Students participating in the new organization engage in advanced foreign policy discussions on campus.
Ryan Portela is the current president of JQAS on campus and helped bring the local chapter to campus.
“I reached out to John Gay, who is our national [contact]. I was asking about some internship opportunities. He noticed that we did not have a [JQAS] chapter at Youngstown State University and he wanted to know if I wanted to start one,” Portela said.
Portela said the importance of having an open forum on campus is the awareness it brings to students.
“I think that more than anything, it brings dialogue. Foreign policy [is something] people are aware of it, [but not something] they discuss or know a lot about. What it does is it offers students on this campus an opportunity to learn more about a certain issue. About a region of the world and discuss how the U.S. handles it,” Portela said.
Portela said that other majors are welcome to attend the discussions and that each field can add insight to the topics.
“To sit there and say it is only for political science students would be a great disservice to not only the university, but also the political science students. How else do you get to have a conversation with an economics major, or talk to an apologist,” Portela said.
William Lightner is another member of JQAS’s executive board. His involvement in the organization started when he was approached by Portela.
“JQAS is unique in the way it brings knowledge to the attendees,” Lightner said. The JQAS brings a unique experience for students, it’s a club where, no matter your background or major, you can come and enjoy some cool topics and talk about your views regarding certain foreign policy issues.”
Jeremy Coler is a YSU student who has attended the JQAS meetings for this semester. He said what the experience has been like for him personally.
“A lot interesting discussion on various topics. We have had two meetings so far, one discussing North Korea and one on the Iran nuclear deal,” Coler said.
Coler said disagreements are kept at a minimum and the different opinions were beneficial for him.
“Things are little, not heated, but you get a lot different ideas flying back and forth. I think it helps me with my knowledge of foreign policy. As long as different ideas are expressed respectfully, they can always be beneficial,” Coler said.
Coler said differences in politics are natural and listening to others in these conversations can form a person’s viewpoint.
“I think that all of the political opinions I have currently are the factor of the years [of] experience I have,” Coler said. “Being exposed to the opinions here through things like the John Quincy Adams Society has helped me form my own [opinion].”