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Van Buren resident to act as student ambassador for World Expo

— Forty U.S. college students including Marisal Dobbins, of Memphis, were chosen to represent the United States from May to August 2012.

“The USA Pavilion 2012 Student Ambassadors represent the hopeful and determined spirit of the American people,” said Chief Spokesperson Philippe Cousteau, Jr., renowned explorer, environmentalist and grandson of oceanic pioneer Jacques Cousteau.

The U.S. Department of State is partnering with Cousteau to design a 1,237-square meter exhibition space that will house exhibits and programming to display the unique and diverse nature of America's ocean environments and coastal communities.

“Of course, learning Korean through the State Department Youth Language program helped in my selection,” said Dobbins, currently a freshman at Smith College, “but I’m sure my PADI scuba certification helped.”

Expo 2012 will have 105 countries participating to share knowledge and technology on the proper use of the ocean and coast and is expected to draw eight million visitors, mostly from Asia. The Student Ambassadors will interact with Pavilion guests in many capacities including greeting visitors, government officials and dignitaries and providing administrative, protocol and programming support.

"I commend these young Americans for their willingness to serve as a bridge between our two nations," remarked Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Kurt M. Campbell. "They are playing an important part in further strengthening the bond between the United States and our important partner and ally, the Republic of Korea."

Dobbins, a graduate of Manlius Pebble Hill School, agrees.

“This is an opportunity to show Asians that students like me care about their culture and we are very serious about environmental issues that affect us all,” she said.

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