In the 2005 spring semester, as part of a general education course at Montclair State University, Global Issues III: International Justice and Human Rights, team-taught by Mark and Professor David Dodd, Director of the Justice Studies Program, students wrote to Lori inquiring about several social justice and human rights issues. One student asked Lori specifically, "what advice would you give to college students?" Lori's response appears below.

Question from Heather C.:

What advice could you give to college students?

Response from Lori B.:

This should actually be a very long answer, because I think there are a lot of things that young people can and should think about, but I'll try to summarize them in a few basic thoughts.


The world operates today in bizarre ways: Natural resources are carelessly depleted; the environment is ruined; people starve to death while subsidized agriculture-stored goods are destroyed to avoid affecting prices; and countries are bombed to the ground to later have private companies be used to reconstruct them. All of these contradictory situations can't go on eternally.

I wish that 9/11, in all of its horror and sadness, could have at least created consciousness in the U.S. population that something is not going well, and that we should all think about how we can all work together, all peoples of this world, so that situations like that never happen again.

However, it didn't occur. The U.S. invaded Afghanistan and Iraq, and hundreds of thousands of people have either died or have been directly affected by these invasions -- and, in the latter case, it was all based upon a lie, of supposed weapons of mass-destruction.

I think that it's in young people's hands to learn about things, to question what makes no sense, to remember that the world is much bigger, much more beautiful than the frontiers of the U.S., and that the U.S. isn't "America." America is two continents, from Canada to the southern cone of Argentina and Chile, and that the American continents are part of a big and beautiful world that we will wind up destroying if we don't look to change the way we relate to one another and to the world itself.

I'd say read, inquire, doubt, investigate, dream -- but don't sit still, and don't believe that just because the U.S. is the most powerful country on the globe right now, that everything it did to become so was right, and that everything it does to try to remain as such is also right. Human values, brotherly love and solidarity are more important than greed. There's a lot to do if this world is to continue functioning. Please do something to make it a better place.

Lori Berenson
Penal de Huacariz
Cajamarca, Perú
23 April 2005