Allison_HarveyMuna Hamzeh had traveled to Baylor University from Palestine to share her story of refugee camps and military checkpoints with the students in Dr. Marc Ellis' class, "Hitler and the Holocaust." As Hamzeh told her gripping tale of oppression and injustice, her words had a powerful effect on one young student in the class.
Allison Harvey, who graduated magna cum laude in May as an Honors student, felt the pieces of her education fall into place as she listened to Hamzeh's personal account of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. For Harvey, it crystallized her plans for the future.
"My experience in the international law, international human rights, and 'Hitler and Holocaust' classes, and the research for my thesis, have created in me a strong desire to work to end apartheid in Israel/Palestine," said the Odessa, Texas, native, whose honors thesis was "Power and Reason: The Nuremberg War Crimes Trial of 1945-46."
During her time at Baylor, Harvey researched multiethnic conflict on her own and in class. She served on the Baylor Model United Nations team and won an Outstanding Delegate Award at the Harvard University national conference. Harvey also was part of the team that won an Outstanding Award at the New York national conference in spring 1999. She served on the International Court of Justice at the University of Pennsylvania's U.N. contest. In addition to her Model U.N. activities, Harvey conducted research on the Algerian crisis as a part of Dr. William Mitchell's "Ethno-Political Conflicts" class. She independently conducted research on genocide and ethnic cleansing through Baylor's J.M. Dawson Institute of Church-State Studies.
Harvey credits Baylor faculty and staff, Elizabeth Vardaman, Tiffany Olson, and Dr. Nikolas Gvosdev for helping her explore her interests.
"My honors adviser, Dr. Gvosdev, inspired me to question things that happen in this world, not just acknowledge them and make claims but to really evaluate. He has always been there to help, giving me confidence in myself and in my ability," said Harvey, who hopes to work for Amnesty International or the United Nations.
"Allison is an outstanding student," Dr. Gvosdev said. "She wants to see the idealism contained in political philosophy transformed into actual structures to ensure fairness and equity for all human beings."
Upon receiving her B.A. in political science and minor in religion and politics, Harvey interned this summer with the American Political Science Association in Washington, D.C. She also attended a weeklong conference focusing on the First Amendment, sponsored by the Institute for Humane Studies.
This fall, Harvey is a member of the inaugural class in the master of human rights degree program at the prestigious London School of Economics and Political Science. It will be an excellent next step for her, Dr. Gvosdev said. "It will enable her to study with some of the best professors in political science and international affairs, not only in Europe, but in the world," he said.
A Provost's Scholarship recipient, Harvey participated in many extracurricular activities while at Baylor. She had leadership positions with Pi Sigma Alpha political science honor society, Sigma Iota Rho international studies honor society, and Pi Beta Phi national fraternity.
She also was named to Mortar Board and Phi Beta Kappa and was selected Outstanding Senior in political science this past spring. Because of her interest in political science and religion, she took advantage of the variety of denominational experiences in Waco by visiting several churches.
"So many conflicts today arise from religious differences, and I realized that we need to understand these before we can bring an end to the violence," she said. - Laura Cadena