From August 2nd to the 5th the Office of Global Learning welcomed approximately 130 international students hailing from France, Brazil, South Korea, India, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, and China for the 5th annual Emerging Global Leaders Seminar (EGLS) in cooperation with the Friendship Ambassadors Foundation (FAF). The Friendship Ambassadors Foundation was established in 1973 with the goal of establishing platforms on which transformative, intercultural exchanges, youth leadership programs, and humanitarian volunteer projects can take place.
Over the course of the weekend the students engaged in the leadership activities, faculty-led lectures, group projects, and thought-provoking speaker programs, all through which they explored the numerous intricacies and applications of social entrepreneurship. The program was structured around lectures, demonstrating the key concepts of social entrepreneurship and identifying the social need that brings about entrepreneurial ventures. The primary lecturer was Fairleigh Dickinson University’s own Dr. Gerard Farias, Chair of and Associate Professor of Management at the Silberman College of Business. In addition to lecturing, Dr. Farias led the examination of case studies of real world examples of social entrepreneurship and its applications. Following some of the lectures, the FAF’s Beatrice Cord gave her own presentations in the form of a panel discussion, where she presented students with examples of how social entrepreneurship is actually done. Ms. Cord, Co-Chair and Program Manager of the Annual Youth Assembly at the UN, was assisted by youth members of the FAF who have undertaken social entrepreneurship projects themselves.
To really drive home the critical concepts gone over during lectures and presentations, students participated in extensive group work in which they applied the concepts they learned to target a specific social need and created a project proposal. They were asked to reflect upon their own lives, nations, and experiences and determine what social need was present. They then constructed a business venture that would not only address the need, but be a self sustaining enterprise, two crucial principles of social entrepreneurship. Once the projects were complete, the groups “pitched” the idea to the instructors, acting as investors, who would decide the winning project. The winning venture this year was prepared by a group of Korean Students from Kyung Hee University who sought to address an issue facing joint North and South Korean cooperation at the Kaesong industrial region.
There were activities beyond the classroom as well, exposing the EGLS students to successful real-world companies that target specific social needs. On the third day of EGLS, students visited Novartis, a major Swiss pharmaceutical company, where they were lectured on the company’s global reach and diversification efforts. After a brief Q&A, students were taken on a tour around the Novartis campus, where many of the Brazilian students, studying civil engineering, marveled at the rchitecture. On the final day of the seminar, students visited the New Community Corporation (NCC) in Newark, New Jersey, one of the largest and most comprehensive community development corporations in the country. They were given a bus tour to various different locations that were part of NCC, including a center for social services, an automotive training center, and a vocational school.
After the program at Fairleigh Dickinson concluded, a small group of students from FDU went on to the Youth Assembly at the United Nations from August 6-8, where they continued their work in social entrepreneurship and leadership.
Thursday, September 18, 2014