PBPL 85: Global Policy Leadership Participant Summer Modelfino '15

This post is part of a series on the Global Policy Leadership Practicum through PBPL 85. Students reflect on their experiences as part the travel abroad portion of the course to Northern Ireland during the winter break.

Today was our first full day in Belfast, and the ladies at Pearl Court Guesthouse prepared a fantastic breakfast. In the morning, our classmate Noah stormed out of the guesthose, suitcase in hand, without a word. We had to carry on without him, since we had two speakers lined up and needed to prepare our questions. It turns out he was just dropping off his laundry, which made the rest of us feel a little silly. With the group together, minus one, it was go-time. I would also like to recognize Ester for her transatlantic adventure to interview with monkeys.

In true historian fashion, our first speaker, Henry Patterson, shared some of his knowledge with us about the UUP. Thank you, Mr. Patterson! Next on the agenda was Avila Kilmurray, one of the founders of the Women's Coalition Party. She gave us some insight on community-based projects and her work over the last 20 years.

We also all found ourselves at Stormont, the Northern Ireland Legislative Assembly, when British Prime Minister David Cameron and Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny arrived for talks on issues that were not resolved in the 1998 Good Friday Accords. Alas, talks broke down today, but it wasn't our fault!



PBPL 85 students in front of Belfast's murals.

Later we went on a three hour walking tour of Belfast to see the murals. Given the temperature, it felt like we could have been in Siberia. Luckily the murals were a distraction from the cold, and with ex-prisoners as our guides, we received a different take on life in Belfast. Soon it started raining, so we decided to head inside and hit the gym at the end of our tour. Inside we chatted with some former unionist paramilitaries and traded workout tips. We tried to hail a cab, but apparently this is illegal in Belfast, so instead we decided to go to a pub.





PBPL 85 students experiencing Ireland's winter weather.

We finally made our way home to find Noah on our doorstep. While Noah may be fastidious about his laundry, he apparently can't keep track of a room key to save his life. Ayesha had some bobby pins that helped let him in. We're planning to have dinner and maybe go bowling before we head to bed. It's been a long day.

-Written by Summer Modelfino '15, Global Policy Leadership Practicum Fall Term 2014 Participant