Reflection: “The Role of Energy in Empowering ISIS”

The Role of Energy in Empowering ISIS

One of the most fascinating aspects of the Presidential Dream Course lecture “The Role of Energy in Empowering ISIS and Fueling the Conflict in the Middle East” was not the subject matter, though it was certainly interesting, or the guest lecturer, who was impressively involved in the issue in real life as the Senior Advisor to the Chief Economist in the US Department of State. The aspect that really pulled me in was that this issue is real and immediate and pertinent in our lives. Throughout high school I took several AP history classes and loved them, and in my AP US Government and Politics class we examined several modern issues in the realm of US domestic politics, but I have never had a class that focused on current, major world events.

Sitting down in a room full of students who attended out of a genuine interest in the topic, not because they were required to, was inspiring and eye-opening. It was gratifying to realize that important people involved in events that shape our lives would come to my university to lecture me and 90 other students. But it was almost surreal to realize that my peers either already are or soon will be involved in issues like the crisis in the Middle East, issues that impact the entire world. It was a motivating yet intimidating realization.

I did not expect so much of the lecture to be focused on oil itself, from extracting it from the ground to converting it into a useful product. The idea that ISIL (as I learned the US government has officially decided to call the organization) is crippling its own military strength by using oil that is practically still crude for its vehicles was intriguing in its short-sightedness.

After seeing how knowledgable and well-connected many of my peers already are, I wonder whether this field is something that I would be interested in as a possible future career. It was certainly exciting to be in the middle of something large and real.  Overall, attending this guest lecture inspires me to learn more about current world events.