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High School Students Study Global Issues at Missouri Public Affairs Academy

High school students at the Missouri Public Affairs Academy in Springfield learn about the AIDS crisis in Africa. KSMU's Missy Shelton reports.

This weekend, the Missouri Public Affairs Academy will come to an end. Twenty-eight high school students from around the state participated in this year's 9 day program. They study citizen participation, political culture, the legal system, and global affairs. One of this year's speakers is Theogene Rudasingwa. He spent most of his life in a refugee camp and eventually helped re-build Rwanda, his home country after the genocide, serving as Rwanda's ambassador to the U.S. Now, he's the Vice President for Global Affairs at Pangaea, a global AIDS foundation. He spoke to the students about the HIV/AIDS crisis in Africa. Despite all the terrible things he's witnessed in his life and his own personal hardships, he brings a message of hope.

Rudasingwa says moving ahead and addressing global problems like the AIDS crisis means motivating young people and adults. This week, he brought his message to high school students at the Missouri Public Affairs Academy.

Eighteen year old Laura Ransin will be a senior this fall at Central High School in Springfield. She says hearing from Theogene Rudasingwa has made a real impact on her.

Hearing firsthand about the Rwanda genocide has made an impact on seventeen year old Tanner Stockum. He'll be a senior this fall at Arcadia Valley High School in eastern Missouri.

Theogene Rudasingwa says he has a simple message to leave with the students.

The annual Missouri Public Affairs Academy is funded primarily by Missouri State University and is open on a competitive basis to high school juniors and seniors across the state.