Simpson College (simpson.edu) welcomed 39 college students and professors from the University of Adelaide and Macquarie University in Australia to campus for a first-hand look at American politics. The students traveled to the U.S. to experience the first vote of 2020 at the Iowa caucuses.
“People outside the United State are entirely focused on American politics,” said Tom Buchanan, a senior lecturer in history at Adelaide and one of the faculty members on the trip. “It’s in the news quite regularly and many have strong feelings — as Americans do — but we have only a very superficial clue. We hear soundbites but not the details we need to understand its complexity,” said Buchanan.
The Australians arrived on Jan. 20 and will remain on campus through the caucuses on Feb. 3. By the time their trip is finished, they will have seen multiple democratic presidential candidates in person, including: Vice President Joe Biden, Senator Bernie Sanders, Andrew Yang and Pete Buttigieg. They participated in Simpson’s Mock Caucus, will observe the Iowa caucus on Feb. 3, tour numerous media outlets in the Des Moines area and take part in on-campus events.
“Simpson College is committed to educating and informing our campus and greater Des Moines community about not only Iowa, but international politics,” said Jay Wilkinson, Simpson’s director of international education. “Our Simpson students, in turn, have benefitted from hearing our visitors’ diverse perspectives on our political process,” said Wilkinson.
The program is coordinated by Simpson’s study abroad program, the department of political science and the Culver Public Policy Center.
About the Culver Public Policy Center
The John C. Culver Public Policy Center was established at Simpson College in 2010 to honor the service of John C. Culver, who served the people of Iowa for 16 years in the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate. Simpson College strives to honor the example of John C. Culver by inspiring young people to pursue careers in public service with integrity and moral courage. The Center’s nonpartisan programs seek to educate and inspire young people to actively participate in our democracy and encourage them to consider public service as their life’s work.
About Simpson College
Simpson College is located in Indianola, Iowa, a short drive from Iowa's capital city of Des Moines. Founded in 1860, Simpson College has approximately 1,300 full-time undergraduate students and approximately 400 part-time students. Simpson also has a campus in West Des Moines serving primarily adult learners. Simpson offers 80 majors and minors, is a member of the NCAA Division III American Rivers Conference, hosts eight Greek houses on campus and sponsors many extracurricular options for student involvement.