Chapman University senior Andrew McGuigan, spent two weeks in Russia—surviving a freak tornado the first day and meeting with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev near the trip’s end.
McGuigan was a participant in the 2011 International Youth Forum on Lake Seliger. The program takes place literally in the woods on the banks of Lake Seliger in Russia. Acceptance into the program is competitive and based on multiple essays each applicant writes. Campers were divided into four groups based on their entrance essays: international business, world politics, civil society and mass media. McGuigan chose world politics.
The 1,000 youth participants aged 17 to 28 bunked in tents near the lake and spent their days hearing lectures, debating and taking part in projects related to real-world politics. For example, McGuigan participated in a mock G8 meeting where he represented the country of China and was tasked with leading China through the next 20 years dealing with issues such as resources and conflicts.