Strength Through Diversity - Colleges and Universities Meet to Reinforce Partnerships for Effective Global Citizenship Education




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Oct 27, 2016
by Adam Beeson
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Strength Through Diversity - Colleges and Universities Meet to Reinforce Partnerships for Effective Global Citizenship Education

Historically Black Colleges and Universities and members of the Appalachian College Association further efforts at second annual Global Citizenship Summit The Summit was held at Meadowview Conference Resort & Convention Center in Kingsport, TN

More than fifty faculty and administrators from select Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) and members of the Appalachian College Association (ACA) convened at the second annual Global Citizenship Summit to share and receive feedback on deepening global citizenship education work, expand and enhance multi-campus partnerships, and plan for the formation of a new organization to support ongoing, and stimulate new, collaborative activities to institutionalize global citizenship education. 

The Summit, led by Lindsey Wilson College and co-organized by Bennett College, Brevard College, Clark Atlanta University, and Ferrum College, was held in conjunction with the Appalachian College Association’s annual conference at the Meadowview Conference Resort & Convention Center in Kingsport, Tennessee, September 29-October 1, 2016.

“Global citizenship education is no longer a choice, it is an imperative,” Dr. Adil Najam, inaugural dean at the Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies at Boston University, told Summit participants. “There is an implied oppositeness between global and local, and part of our charge as educators is to take that implication, to confront it boldly, and to suggest it is not so. If there is a global, the global is everywhere. Too often we make global sound exotic and elsewhere, as opposed to something that is central to who we are and where we are….”

The Summit was a result of a competitive grant process organized as part of Salzburg Global Seminar's Mellon Global Citizenship Program (M-GCP) and made possible through the generous support of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. An outgrowth of the multi-year Mellon Fellow Community Initiative (MFCI), which ran from 2008 to 2013, the M-GCP was launched in 2014 to further the innovative work that moved thirty-six U.S. colleges and universities – all of which are either HBCUs or members of the ACA – toward becoming sites of global citizenship. 

While ACA and HBCU institutions share many common attributes based on their long histories serving unique and diverse student bodies and the broader communities around them, their distinct communities and geographical distances have not encouraged collaboration among them. The M-GCP has helped the institutions to test and validate the multiple benefits that result from these cooperative efforts.

“It is essential that we make sure all students get to the point where they can engage with the world,” Dr. Dawn Michelle Whitehead, senior director for global learning and curricular change at the Association of American Colleges and Universities said. “If all students need global learning, we need to start looking at it from an integrated perspective across disciplines. Global learning cannot be achieved in a single course or a single experience, but is acquired cumulatively across students’ entire college career through an institution’s curricular and co-curricular planning.”

Focusing on the theme Strength Through Diversity: Partnering for Effective Global Citizenship Education, participants in the Summit heard from leading experts on global citizenship education and outlined concrete next steps for the creation of the Global Citizenship Consortium, an organization to be embedded within the Global Citizenship Alliance (GCA) that will support activities and partnerships developed through the M-GCP. The GCA was established in the Fall of 2015 to continue, strengthen and expand the work of Salzburg Global’s successful Global Citizenship Program, which in its 12 years had become one of the largest, most systematic, and most comprehensive programs on global citizenship education in the United States.

Dr. John Burkhardt, director of the National Forum on Higher Education for the Public Good and director of the National Center for Institutional Diversity at the University of Michigan, told Summit participants that higher education institutions must transform themselves if they are to provide leadership in a more interdependent world.  “Higher education in our country is a system built on the assumption that differences are variations from the norm, to be explained and accommodated by exclusion, duplication, or exception,” Burkhardt said. “It is within your power to re-think this. We need to have a conversation about who we are and what we want with people we don’t even know and aren’t even sure we can trust. Without discourse, like that which is happening at this summit, we have no means for determining who we are and what we want in any reasonable, peaceful way.”

The Summit offered 2015 and 2016 M-GCP grantees the opportunity to discuss the process and results of recent multi-campus programmatic activities, including the partnership between Florida Memorial University and Berea College, the global education visiting specialist series Global Citizenship Revisited: New Approaches to Achieve Global Competencies between Ferrum College, Bennett College, and King University, and the study away incentive program Trading Spaces, a collaboration between Lindsey Wilson College and Clark Atlanta University, which faculty members from both institutions described as an opportunity for urban and rural students to not only gain new experiences and perspectives that may otherwise not be available to them, but to also find commonalities.

An undergraduate research conference focusing on the theme Global Citizenship: Exploring Problems, Finding Solutions was held concurrent to the Summit in Kingsport and was an opportunity for students to present their own innovations and ideas. In addition, student participants from Global African (Diaspora) Citizenship, a study away incentive program between Florida Memorial University and Berea College, made possible through a 2016 M-GCP grant, presented their findings from the recently completed program along with a musical performance for attendees.  

Students benefiting from the activities of the M-GCP also had the opportunity to address the value and impact of global citizenship on their educational experiences. “Global citizenship is about trying to understand how other people live their lives,” said Kayla Brubaker, a senior English major and Russian minor at Ferrum College. “It is about interacting with people and cultures you are not familiar with. I would like to think I am a global citizen, but there is much more to be learned.”

“Global citizenship is no longer just an idealized rhetorical term used in textbooks,” said Betty Overton-Adkins, M-GCP Advisory Council member and director of the National Forum on Higher Education for the Public Good at the University of Michigan. “It is the reality that today's students will live as part of their future. Those of us who are college educators will fail to provide future-focused preparation if we overlook this aspect of our students' educational experience.” 

More information about the M-GCP can be found at the M-GCP website ( Please contact David Goldman at for enquires related to the M-GCP.

About Salzburg Global Seminar

Since 1947, Salzburg Global Seminar has brought together more than 30,000 change-makers from across the world to fulfill its mission: to challenge present and future leaders to solve issues of global concern. 

We focus on complex problems confronting the global community, covering topics as diverse as health care and education, culture and economics, geopolitics and human rights. Our sessions are designed to stimulate open dialogue and transformative thinking across national, cultural, generational and institutional boundaries. Working with the world’s leading public and private organizations and philanthropic investors, we engage our global network to accelerate positive global change. Salzburg Global’s programs are primarily convened at Schloss Leopoldskron, Austria, with additional offices in Washington, DC, USA and London, UK. This 300-year-old palace, now also an award-winning hotel, provides an inspiring retreat and intimate space for international convening.

A full program listing can be found online: