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Wed, 20 Apr 2011 13:02:38 EDT by admin, 130274 views
University of Toronto and State University of New York Downstate College of Medicine, New York
Education paper by Papp-Aykler, Susan M. and Papp, Klára K. (all papers)
Softening the Edges of Hungary’s Borders: A Student-Centered Program for Hungarian Youth in Diasporas
Purpose: This is an observational study of a program, Students without Borders, that brings together ethnic Hungarian students who live in minority status in four different countries: in Transylvania and Moldova in Romania, Slovakia, Transcarpathia in Ukraine and Voivodina, part of Serbia. The program began in 18 years ago when the importance of borders were lessening with the expansion of the European Union. The purpose of the program is to strengthen ethnic ties and build relationships and connections between young people within the Carpathian Basin. Method: The program is of two weeks’ duration held annually since 1994 for young men and women between the ages of 13-17. Students who participated in the last two years completed a 20-item questionnaire that includes 11 structured questions asking them to rate [on a 6-pt scale where 1=strongly disagree to 6=strongly agree] their opinion of statements being made; 8 demographic items; and 10 open-ended questions. Results: In all, students agreed or strongly agreed that, “I’ll gladly come to visit Hungary again.” and “I formed strong friendships while on this trip.” Many indicated a desire to travel more often to Hungary. When asked whether they experienced human rights violations because of their ethnicity, several indicated that they had and that this first-hand experience of Hungary strengthened their self-esteem and enabled them to connect with others in different countries in Europe and share common background and experiences.
Conclusions The program provides students first hand experiences of Hungary as well as opportunities to form bonds of friendship with students who live in minority status in other countries in Central Europe. Several years’ data provide solid framework for the strength and meaning that participation in such activities have in identify formation. The experiences gained by students during the program have the effect of “softening the edges” of Hungary’s borders.
Brief Professional Bio:
Susan M. Papp (photo), MA earned a Master of Arts in North American Social History at York University in Toronto in 1985. Since 2009, she is teaching in the Hungarian Studies Program in the Munk School of International Studies at the University of Toronto. Ms. Papp has published widely in the field of Hungarian immigration to and settlement in North America. Her publications include the history of Hungarians in Cleveland. Susan Papp is also a producer/director of documentary films. She is recipient of several prestigious awards, including the Michener Award. Ms. Papp most recently authored a book titled Outcasts: A Love Story. This book has been translated into Hungarian (2010) and Hebrew (2011), and has been made into a documentary film. Susan Papp, along with her husband, initiated the Students without Boundaries program in 1994. They have both been actively involved in leading and organizing it every year since its inception.
Klara Papp, PhD is an Educational Psychologist and works currently as Associate Dean for Student Assessment at the College of Medicine at State University of New York Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn, New York. Klara has been the chair of the research committee for the Clerkship Directors in Internal Medicine and received its Charles H. Griffith III Educational Research Award. She has numerous peer-reviewed publications. She is on the Board of Directors of the Cleveland Hungarian Heritage Society and is president of the United Hungarian Fund. For the last several years, she participated in Students without Boundaries Program and has been an avid supporter since it began.