In the last week, John Carroll University welcomed Turkish journalist Sevgi Akarcesme to speak about her experiences within her own country. During her time on campus, she shared disturbing firsthand accounts of the suppression and censor of the Turkish media with the JCU community.
Akarcesme’s experiences have essential implications for American society today. Given the international community’s attention to and sorrow for recent aggressive acts by extremists, John Carroll students should take Akarceme’s advice as a solemn reminder of the freedoms citizens enjoy domestically.
College students have instant access to the news unfolding around them, through sources ranging from social media to on-campus news sources, such as The New York Times and The Carroll News. These outlets are a liberty which many foreign nations do not have access to. And, this freedom of the press is often taken for granted. To remind the John Carroll community of its privileges and rights, lectures and initiatives need to be organized on campus more frequently.
As future leaders and thinkers, we must increase our awareness as the first necessary step toward challenging oppressive forces. Without awareness, action cannot be taken. Thus, these initiatives would arm students to fully grasp both domestic and international issues. As students dedicated to the Jesuit mission of learning, leadership and service, we have no choice but to embrace the lessons afforded by speakers such as Akarcesme. Through immersion in these global issues, we take one step closer in becoming men and women for others.