Ohio Wesleyan University will bring together 22 college students from across the United States and around the world in October as part of its OWU LAB (Leaders Across Borders) international cross-cultural leadership training program.
The five-day leadership workshop will be held at Corrymeela in Ballycastle, Northern Ireland. Founded in 1945, Corrymeela works to help people, often from marginalized communities, “explore differences and discover ways to live well together.” Ohio Wesleyan has been collaborating with the center for more than 20 years and awarded its former director, the Rev. Dr. Harold Good, an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree in 2010.
“Our goal for the program is to help students acquire and/or apply cross-cultural communication skills; utilize intellectual curiosity about other cultures, peoples, and ethnicities; and demonstrate peer leadership and conflict mediation skills,” said Lisa Ho, associate director of Ohio Wesleyan’s Office of International and Off-Campus Programs and director of the OWU Leaders Across Borders program.
To prepare for the Oct. 10-15 workshop, the 22 students participated in virtual programming for three months over the summer. During that time, they studied how to break down boundaries created on their campuses by nationality, socio-economic status, faith traditions, and race and ethnicity.
“When the students take their place in leadership positions on their own campuses, OWU LAB graduates are expected to apply what they have learned to build and sustain relationships across differences,” said Ho, who has been collaborating with Corrymeela since 2005. “Informal cross-cultural interactions within their on-campus communities will be assisted by their training and by the social network created by the program.”
Students participating in OWU LAB were selected through a competitive nomination and application process completed in the spring. All of the participants attend one of the 30 colleges and universities that comprise the Global Liberal Arts Alliance (GLAA), a group created and overseen by the Great Lakes Colleges Association (GLCA).
Four of the 22 students are enrolled at Ohio Wesleyan. They are senior Blake Johnson of Centerburg, Ohio; junior Marvella Kurniawan of West Jakarta, Indonesia; junior Timothy Page of Roseville, Michigan; and sophomore Anya Robinson of Belleville, Illinois.
Ho is working to teach the program with Ohio Wesleyan colleagues Paul Dean, Ph.D., associate professor of Sociology and Social Justice; Michele Nobel, Ph.D., assistant professor of Education; and Chad Johns, D.Min., university chaplain.
Ohio Wesleyan has received nearly $49,000 in grant funding for the program, including support from the GLCA’s Global Crossroads Initiative, made possible by a grant from the Mellon Foundation.
Submitted by Ohio Wesleyan University.