Three months after our Summer Training Conference, where we trained our Project Manager Fellows (PMFs) how to recruit and lead their One World Hub teams on their college campuses, we can still feel the excitement of a blooming partnership between our two hubs, Georgetown University and the University of Prishtina. (Read blog posts by and watch videos about each of our PMFs here: Mary Oeftering, Audrey Avila, Lum Hoxha, and Fitim Krasniqi).
Two weeks after returning from our Fall Site Trainings, I finally have the time to reflect on what dynamic students leaders we’re working with this year! Within our model there are two types of student leaders on each campus, the two Project Manager Fellows and the Project Ambassadors (PAs), together making up our Hub Teams. We arrived at both hubs this fall and couldn’t have hoped for a better group of PAs – well done, PMFs for running such effective recruitment campaigns!
The objective of the Fall Site Trainings is to prepare the new Project Ambassadors for their responsibility of facilitating our lessons in classrooms, by training them on our curriculum, our technology tools and platforms, and classroom management skills. The “soft” objective of this training is, of course, to build community within and amongst our two Hub Teams.
Half way through day one of the Georgetown Fall Site Training when we introduced that the goal of our next workshop was to give the PAs a chance to introduce themselves to their counterparts in Kosovo (while simultaneously teaching them how to use their Kodak video cameras, post clips to their hub Youtube account, and share the links on their intranet, Yammer – all required skills for connecting their class groups throughout the course of our curriculum), our Georgetown PMFs immediately jumped in with a theme for these PA intro videos: “What would you do if you were attacked by a bear?” While none of us here in the office recall how this inside joke between the Georgetown and the Prishtina PMFs came about, we know it began sometime during our week together at the Summer Training Conference that took place in a cabin between a forest-lined river and beautiful open fields in the small community of Capon Bridge, West Virginia.
When we presented the fruits of this exercise exactly one week later on day one of the Prishtina training, the Prishtina PMFs howled with laughter at the revival of this silly debate, and their PA team quickly hopped on the bandwagon and owned the joke as if they were a part of it since its inception. At this point the assignment took on a life of its own and now the stakes were higher; they had to create an equally creative and collective response.
What have we learned about bear safety and survival skills from these videos? Not much. Regarding human connection across borders and cultures, however, we saw a beautiful example of its contagious nature. We always say that part of our movement in the global education sector is about setting an example of a different reality that seems too desirable to pass up. That eventually the world won’t be able to help but want to adopt and recreate this reality everywhere. In this reality, all people are comfortable communicating and collaborating with people from any other nation or culture.
One learning that I walked away from these Fall Site Trainings with was that leadership is about creating a space where others feel safe and excited to reach their full potential. The PMFs took the first step in this cross-cultural friendship and showed their PA teams how great it was. I believe that if the PAs’ responsibility to connect their students to students in another country is fun and meaningful for them, they will do a better job of creating that experience and inspiring that feeling among their students.
You can check out some of these introduction-”If I was attacked by a bear”-videos here: