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Edmonds CC students, staff and faculty attend the Global Leadership Summit in South Africa


Global Leadership Summit 2015
Global Leadership Summit 2015 in South Africa

Edmonds College expanded its horizons by sending seven students, two staff members and one faculty member to the Global Leadership Summit (GLS) held at the University of the Free State (UFS) in Bloemfontein, South Africa from July 5-17.

More than 100 international delegates from various universities in Asia, the United States, and Europe, as well as 40 student delegates from the University of the Free State were in attendance.

Edmonds CC was the only community college in attendance at the GLS.

The international conference was an exchange of ideas and experiences regarding diversity, racism, racial integration, social justice, and reconciliation within the higher education system. Panel discussions and workshops focused on gender issues, citizenship and leadership, race relations, and interfaith leadership.

Keynote speakers included: Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela, professor at the UFS;  Zelda la Grange, former private secretary to Nelson Mandela; and Donna Walker-Kuhne, Vice President for Marketing at New Jersey Performing Arts Center.

Dr. Tonya Drake, Edmonds CC Vice President for College Relations and Advancement; Marisa DuBois, Edmonds CC Director of ABE and ESL Student Services; and Gem Baldwin, Edmonds CC anthropology instructor and seven Edmonds CC students were all in attendance.

Dr. Drake and Baldwin presented on deconstructing race. “I felt a level of honor and privilege to be presenting at the GLS,” said Dr. Drake.

How did Dr. Drake describe her experience at the GLS? “I loved that South Africa was intentional about building community and that is something I strive to continue to build here at Edmonds CC.”

Through the generous funding of the Associated Students of Edmonds CC (ASEdCC), Edmonds CC students were provided the opportunity to travel to the GLS. As a part of this opportunity the students were to create a project reflecting their time at the GLS.

The students were placed into cohorts where they debriefed and debated after lectures to deconstruct what they had heard and experienced.

Global Leadership Summit Video: Cohort 1

The cohorts also created videos about leadership and diversity. The videos were then judged and cohort one won for best video.

“My time at the Global Leadership Summit completely opened my eyes to many shared social justice issues between South Africa and the U.S.,” said Andrew Ruiz, Edmonds CC student.  “Beyond the lectures, hearing real stories from South Africans and how the stories shaped their lives was my greatest take away from the Global Leadership Summit.”

DuBois is responsible for the relationship between Edmonds CC and the UFS. In 2012, DuBois went to Bloemfontein as a visiting student affairs scholar, to support the Leadership For Change (LFC) initiative. As a result of DuBois’s visit, Edmonds CC brought students from UFS here to visit classes, departments and areas within the community in September 2013.

What did DuBois think of the Edmonds CC students experiences at the GLS? “They were so excited and grateful for the opportunity. Their world has been broken open and I want them to continue that.”

What does the future hold for this beautiful new relationship that has been formed? Edmonds CC will be hosting students from the UFS in January 2016.