President’s Message: Global Citizenship

It is hard to imagine a more fitting way to mark the creation of the Oechsle Center for Global Education than with an address by Mikhail Gorbachev. This extraordinarily memorable event on Oct. 19 was experienced by more than 3,600 people in person and by alumni and friends gathered in locations from coast to coast in the United States and in Northern Mexico, London, Paris, and Istanbul via streaming internet broadcast. You will read more about it in this magazine.

Dan WeissOur students were among the most enthusiastic attendees, and this is not surprising. Indeed the impetus for a new, vibrant, interdisciplinary academic center, innovative in its approach to learning and to global citizenship and service, has come from them. For this generation, “study abroad” is a dated expression. They see the world as a global community, and they are engaging with it energetically, individually and in multidisciplinary teams.

Ericka Chehi ’12, for example, an economics major, interviewed migrant laborers — in Chinese — during a year in China researching that nation’s household registration system. The work is the basis of her honors thesis in Asian studies. Luke Calvano ’12, a policy studies major and varsity soccer player, worked with the Planning Institute of Jamaica during a semester at the University of the West Indies.

Students in Engineers Without Borders helped residents of El Convento, Lagunitas, and La Fortuna, Honduras, install drinking-water systems in their communities. Teams of students in the Economic Empowerment and Global Learning Project are working with citizens in Honduran villages and in New Orleans to facilitate social entrepreneurship and economic sustainability. In the Lafayette Initiative for Malagasy Education, called LIME, students are helping Malagasy high-school students prepare to apply to U.S. colleges. The list goes on.

And students engage with our home community, Easton, in many meaningful ways, including more than 25 programs of sustained voluntary service every year.

President Gorbachev exemplifies the type of visionary, transformative leadership which we hope the Oechsle Center for Global Education will inspire — and prepare — our students to emulate as they continue their engagement with the world throughout their lives and careers. I hope you enjoy this issue.

Daniel H. Weiss