On April 3-5, Diversity Abroad welcomed over 45 young leaders from around the country to participate in our 2nd Global Student Leadership Summit, held in conjunction with the Annual Diversity Abroad Conference in Atlanta, GA.
This year’s cohort came from more than 27 nominating institutions (including colleges and program providers), and studied abroad in countries including Spain, Australia, China, and Guatemala, just to name a few. GSLS kicked off this year with a keynote address from Sundaa Bridgett-Jones, Associate Director at The Rockefeller Foundation (featured above), who inspired our students about her own experiences going abroad as a woman of color.
Throughout the two-day conference, students reflected on their experiences abroad, explored potential career opportunities in the field of international education, and gained practical networking skills to utlize during their time at the conference. In fact, Diversity Abroad Founder and Director Andrew Gordon spoke directly to students about how his vision for the organization and his networking skills lead to the growth of Diversity Abroad as it is today.
Five students among this year’s cohort were also selected as panelists during a conference-wide luncheon to discuss how their identities impacted their time abroad. Their stories were so important to hear because they gave conference attendees a greater sense about how intersectionality -- our identities as they relate to power structures.-- truly frames how unique the student experience abroad can be based on how we identify ourselves, as well as how the world perceives us.
New to GSLS this year was the introduction of the case challenge, which asked students to work collaboratively throughout GSLS and develop recommendations on how to create more inclusive practices in international education across the four stages of the study abroad process: marketing and outreach, pre-departure, in-country and re-entry. Students worked during and in-between sessions to prepare and present these recommendations during the closing plenary, where they addressed their concerns directly to the study abroad administrators and advisors in attendance.
GSLS is a unique opportunity for students to engage directly with international educators. Few professional conferences invite students to the table, and Diversity Abroad is proud to be a leader in both promoting and practicing inclusiveness in the field of international education. GSLS will return during the 5th annual Diversity Abroad Conference in Minneapolis, MN on March 20-22, 2017. We hope you consider joining us next year!