Wittenberg International Student Pens U.S. Senate Resolution
Springfield, Ohio – Few college students can say they have had the thrill of seeing a resolution they prepared drafted into law by the United States Senate. Even fewer international students can make such a claim.
Yet that is the rarefied company kept by Wittenberg University senior Ben Fricke, an international student hailing from Radis, Germany, after a resolution he penned while working in the office of Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown during the fall semester was accepted late last year. After researching numerous issues during his semester on Capitol Hill, Fricke made the most of an opportunity to prepare a resolution of his own that recognized the significance of the 15-year anniversary of the historic General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Better known as the Dayton Peace Accords, the agreement negotiated in November 1995 at Wright Patterson Air Force Base was officially signed by world leaders in Paris a month later to end the four-year Balkan War. The same month that Fricke was preparing his resolution, many of the leaders involved in the Dayton Peace Accords re-convened Nov. 5-6, 2010, for a series of panel discussions on the current situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The group assembled included Wittenberg Professor of Sociology Keith Doubt, who played a key role in the original negotiations.
“The Dayton Peace Accords were an exemplary move in the right direction. However, there is still much work to be done,” said Fricke, a political science major who plans to continue his studies in graduate school after earning his diploma from Wittenberg in May. “Bosnia unfortunately became an example of failed state-building. Western leaders try to apply their idea of a final democratic state and forget that new paint on a wall does not guarantee genuine political processes and functioning political systems.”
While he grew up in Germany, Fricke’s ties to the United States and his interest in American politics extends to his elementary school years and also includes a year of study at a Missouri high school through an exchange program. He also participated in Springfield’s 200th anniversary celebration in 2001, and after staying with a host family and visiting Wittenberg he knew he wanted to return to study at the nationally ranked liberal arts university.
At Wittenberg, Fricke has been involved in the university’s Mock Trial Association and currently serves as president of Pi Sigma Alpha, the political science honor society. In the latter position, Fricke is the co-editor for Levitas, Wittenberg’s journal of political science. He also was recently honored with the Global Awareness Award at Wittenberg’s Honors Convocation.
With a strong academic foundation in political science, Fricke decided to pursue internship opportunities to further his education. He said the opportunity to learn about internal structures of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives while working in Brown’s office was invaluable, and he was particularly pleased to see that the original draft of his resolution was not altered much before passage.
“My two years of study at Wittenberg are a lifetime experience that has opened unbelievable opportunities for self-development and academic progress,” Fricke said.
Written By: Ryan Maurer, with contributions from Liana Began ’11 and Sarah Brode ’11
Photo By: Erin Pence