On October 23, 2012, Saint Mary’s College Economics Club and the German Club co-sponsored a sesquicentennial panel discussion for “The Year of the Great(est) Conversation(s)” series titled “European Debt Crisis: What we should know, and why should we care.”
At this event, German Deputy Consul General Bernhard Abels, who specializes in economic and scientific affairs, gave an overview of the debt situation with some historical background, but focused mostly on the German perspective. Following his formal remarks a dynamic panel discussion and Q & A session with Saint Mary's faculty members ensued: Roy Allen, professor of economics; Tomas Gomez, Associate Dean of Faculty and Research for the School of Economics and Business Administration (SEBA) and Director of the Center for the Regional Economy; Caralinda Lee, Adjunct Associate Professor of Modern Languages; and Aeleah Soine, Assistant Professor of History.
There were a wide variety of perspectives presented around the topic of the European Debt Crisis, or, as many Europeans refer to it, the Euro Crisis. The speakers provided insights on the crisis from a wide variety of angles -- global, economic, financial, historical, and cultural. All agreed that the European Union, together with the Euro, are long-term projects with their ups and downs, but that they are ultimately a positive force in the world and will endure long term.
Students were extremely enthusiastic and participated in this event by asking many thoughtful questions in regard to the financial situation, integration amongst the European nations, the cultural changes, and the political strain in Europe. In regards to the matter of integration, Mr. Abels said, “This is one of the most important and complex issues that will be decided because of its impact on people.”
After the concluding comments from Mr. Abels and the panel, everyone enjoyed an assortment of German pastries and coffee. Professor Caralinda Lee recaps, “One of the best aspects of it, in my opinion, was the "Zusammenarbeit" (German for "working together") of the two clubs. It was a great success - the Consul was impressed with our students and I went home feeling as though the world will be in good hands when they (students) are in charge.”
This was the first time that a government official agreed to participate in an event organized by student clubs. This event was also part of the sesquicentennial celebration’s the greatest conversation series in addition to taking part in the School of Economics and Business Administration's Career Gateway program. Finally, it was an opportunity for students to engage in a significant and insightful conversation about a crisis that concerns the entire world.