Summer 2024 /Global Pomona/

A Pomona Seminar on International Issues, Taught Overseas


Politics Associate Professor Mietek Boduszynski starts all his correspondence with students in this summer’s study abroad course with a salutation he knows well. He spent nearly 10 years as a Foreign Service officer with the U.S. Department of State, gaining a storehouse of knowledge he shares with students on the Pomona campus and, in the summer of 2024, on location in Belgium and Morocco.

The four-week immersive seminar, Diplomacy and Human Rights in the Mediterranean, is the first of what Nicole Desjardins Gowdy, senior director of international and domestic programs, hopes will be annual study away programs led by Pomona faculty in a variety of disciplines. It’s part of an effort to make additional short-term, focused international experiences available to students, though she notes that Pomona has so far bucked the national trend toward compressed study abroad. By the time they graduate, about half of Sagehens have studied away from campus, usually for an entire semester, in one of the 67 programs offered in 37 countries. Boduszynski says that in this class, as many as half the students had never been abroad.

Students enrolled in Diplomacy and Human Rights will have an up-close, behind the scenes look at diplomacy in action in Brussels, Belgium, headquarters of the European Union, and Morocco, a southern Mediterranean nation that is, as Boduszynski explains, “at once Arab and African.” In Belgium, they will meet with leaders of organizations such as NATO, the European Union and Human Rights Watch. In Morocco, they will visit the U.S. Consulate General, meet with a leading novelist and a New York Times journalist, tour the Amal Center for Women and Single Mothers, and talk with a human rights activist.

Each day will immerse the students deeper into the process of “policymaking around human rights, which has to be balanced with other kinds of goals, like security, migration and economics,” says Boduszynski. “They will actually meet the people who make those policies right in the spaces where they make them.”

—Marilyn Thomsen