- Oral History Workshop
- Borderlands Workshop
- Leadership Institute
- Athens Democracy Forum
Oral History workshop, American University in Bulgaria, June 26-28, 2019
The Global Liberal Arts Alliance is soliciting proposals for oral history projects collaboratively developed and implemented at two or more Alliance campuses. Funded projects will engage with Oral History in the Liberal Arts throughout the project cycle and will be invited to a three-day workshop to be held at The American University in Bulgaria in June 2019.
Through this program, two or more Alliance schools will take up the same topic or overlapping topics in a way that sharing the stories collected across the institutions will be beneficial, producing something more powerful than would be created if the projects were undertaken separately. The sharing could include process questions, experience questions (including having students share their reflections on their interview experiences), and results (including what was learned through the interviews and through the experience of designing and executing a project of this type). Faculty collaborators do not need to be in the field together but do need to work on the same or overlapping questions where sharing will be beneficial to all participants.
Borderlands workshop at the American College of Greece, June 19-24, 2019
The American College of Greece will host a six-day workshop on the multidimensional impact of the immigration crisis on borderlands, both physical and conceptual. The workshop will promote research on new configurations of sociopolitical, cultural, and legal conditions over and across borders, in the context of (forced) migration, as well as discussion on pedagogical approaches to address 21st-century borderlands experienced and conceived under stress due to immigration. An expected workshop outcome is forging connections between Alliance participants and across Alliance institutions leading to research collaborations resulting in publications and workshops; in addition, it will promote development of pedagogical materials for teaching and learning about borders, including shared teaching practices and resources. Emphasis will be placed on place-based learning through a two-day site visit to a Greek island at the EU border in collaboration with local NGOs. Please read the Call for Proposals for additional information.
The 2018 Institute, Leadership and Liberal Arts: A Foundation for Social Good, explored ways that Global Liberal Arts Alliance schools articulate the role of liberal education in the development of leadership for social good. This exploration encompassed aspects of liberal education that Alliance schools have in common as well as the unique institutional contexts that shape their approaches to leadership and make them vital.
The notion of leadership as service aligns well with the missions of our institutions. We believe in development of the whole person, preparing each student for a life of meaning – in their career and personal life – with a sense of service beyond self.
Institute sessions provided examples of curricular, co-curricular, and extra-curricular programs that develop leadership skills and behaviors (full Institute program). What these programs have in common is that they challenge students by asking them to tackle problems, often from the local community, whose solutions are not immediately obvious and require that students interact closely (questioning and listening) with people whose life experiences may have been very different from that of the students.
The sessions and accompanying discussions produced the following conclusions about leadership development at our institutions:
- Theory must be matched with practice – experience with a range of open-ended problems stretches students intellectually and emotionally
- Students must reflect on these experiences
- These are educational experiences with emphasis on process over product
- In that context, failures as well as successes must be treated as growth opportunities
- It is through these experiences (these challenges) that students develop a stronger sense of self, find empathy, clarify a set of values, and build the confidence to act on those values, tempered by humility
There were 62 attendees from 26 Alliance schools, including 26 students from 19 Alliance schools. The students attended all Institute sessions and workshops (including student presenters in 12 of 16 sessions). Inspired by our very good experience with student working groups at the 2017 Athens Democracy Forum, the students were asked to engage in small group work on issues of leadership and leadership development, culminating in two student panels that closed the Institute. While there were many good sessions at the Institute, without question the two student sessions were the best-received and generated the most interesting discussion. The students were articulate, poised, passionate, and thoughtful.
The Global Liberal Arts Alliance joined with Deree-The American College of Greece to send 21 students from 20 Alliance institutions to Athens, Greece to attend the New York Times Athens Democracy Forum. The Forum’s theme, “Democracy in Danger: Solutions for a Changing World”, speaks to the mission of Liberal Arts education to prepare global citizens who can work together to solve complex problems that bring positive change to a turbulent world.
The students had two and a half days on the campus of The American College of Greece to prepare for the Forum, followed by two days of Forum sessions at the Zappeion in the National Garden of Athens. The Forum opened with a reception at the Acropolis Museum, looking up at the Acropolis. The day after the Forum was dedicated to working on reports and an excursion to swim in Marathon Bay.
This year the students had roles in three sessions at the Forum. As they did last year, the students were scribes at the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) lunch, which focused on four SDGs: Good Health and Well-Being, Quality Education, Reduced Inequalities, and Climate Action. The objective of the lunch was to have each table produce action items that businesses, governments, NGOs, civic groups, and individuals could pursue to help achieve the SDG goals. The students will write reports based on the recommendations collected from the lunch discussions. The reports will be published by the NYT.
The Jefferson Center facilitated workshops on the four Forum themes (The Rule of Law, The Role of Technology, Identity, Diversity and Inclusion, The Responsibility of Business). The students were workshop participants and took notes that were shared with the Jefferson Center facilitators to be used the following morning in a panel of senior NYT journalists and editors.
Lastly, two students (Ragini Rao Munjuluri from FLAME University and Sabrina Harris from The College of Wooster) were selected to participate in the Bridging the Generational Gap session on Tuesday. They were joined by Thulisile Nomkhosi Madonsela - Law Trust Chair in Social Justice - Stellenbosch University and Radosław Sikorski - Former Minister of Foreign Affairs - Poland. The session was moderated by Serge Schmemann - Member of the Editorial Board and Athens Democracy Forum Program Director - The New York Times. As you will see, Ragini and Sabrina were incredible!
This was a tremendous success for our students. They were outgoing, articulate, thoughtful, and poised. It was a delight to see them interact with one another informally between sessions and during meals, and formally in our small group work and at the Forum. It was remarked at the Forum that one challenge we face is isolating ourselves within communities with little or no interaction with others who have different life experiences and worldviews. Through their interactions, our students formed a different community, one that encourages sharing, curiosity, and empathy; a willingness to share across “community” boundaries. It gives us reason to be optimistic about the future. Forum delegates and the New York Times were very impressed with our students, and we are very pleased to have been asked to participate in the 2019 Forum.
Information about the student delegates and the work they did can be found on the Youth Democracy Forum page.