UNA Student Chosen To Participate in Largest Pro-Israeli Conference

Mar. 1, 2012


FLORENCE, Ala. – Uchenna Ralph Akalonu, president of the Student Government Association and senior biology and history double major at the University of North Alabama, was recently selected to be one of 200 students nationwide to take part in the American Israeli Public Action Committee (AIPAC) conference March 2 to 6 in Washington, D.C.

AIPAC is the largest pro-Israeli organization in the country, and invites SGA presidents throughout the United States to lobby for pro-Israeli issues on their college campuses, according to Evelyn Roberson, administrative assistant in the Office of International Affairs. Akalonu was chosen out of thousands of applicants from universities throughout the country.

U.S. President Barack Obama, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli President Shimon Peres, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi are just a few notable speakers that will participate in the conference. Countless senators, media and political analysts will also be present.

Akalonu is looking forward to hearing prominent speakers, visiting the D.C. area and getting a close look at Capitol Hill. He also hopes to learn from the conference for his future career.

“(I’m looking forward to) learning about things that affect the U.S., Israel and world in the grand scheme of things, as well as learning some of the reasoning behind certain decisions and getting to talk with people and share experiences with them,” he said. “That would help me as far as leadership is concerned, in making decisions when they are needed. Maybe I could learn some things in that respect from them.”

Akalonu, of Lagos, Nigeria, is the first international student to be elected as SGA president in UNA’s history. A well-known presence on campus, Akalonu was also the founding president of the African Student Organization in 2007 and has been an active member in the Black Student Alliance during his time at UNA.

“International students at UNA have a great opportunity to get involved and lead,” Roberson said. “We are extremely proud of (Akalonu) and how well he represents the entire student body on campus and now in our nation’s capital.”

For more information, contact the Office of International Affairs at 256-765-4626.