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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Leaders for the Diverse Global Environment

The Global Leadership Program (GLP) introduces the pilot program to University of Massachusetts Boston with its first cohort of leaders in training. The GLP’s objective is to shape leaders to challenge assumptions about different cultures and ethnicities. To derive this point of ambiguity in social semantics further, ask your self what culture, ethnicity, and race mean.

Facilitating the program from Office of Student Leadership and Community Engagement are Sherrod Williams and Erika Rydberg, and from Student Housing, Idil Abubakar and Alana McBrayer.

The GLP is a three components program: first is the weekend training program that build the groundwork for the remaining program, the second is monthly meetings that brings in guest speakers, third and most importantly applied knowledge through community engagement.

The monthly meetings build on students’ “emotional intelligence and conflict resolution while combining the learning around three major cultural themes: Race/Ethnicity, Gender, and Religion/Spirituality/Beliefs.” At the first meeting in February, Joerg Schmitz TMC inspired the group of leaders to “connect the dots of culture and ethnic competency.” TMC works to build culturally competent organizations.

Sharing examples of conflict resolution with multinational firms, consisting of team members that span the globe, Schmitz enlightens the group by sharing the importance in acknowledging the subtle differences of ethnicities or nations. One of the examples connects Indians (not to be confused with First Nations or Native Americans) and the British gesture of hello or good mornings. Indians may gesture a greeting by slightly bobbing or rolling their head while the British hearing “good morning” is sufficient. In an example, a British man did not look at the Indian man’s good morning gesture. When the British man said “hello” there was no verbal response. The British man passed judgments; the misunderstanding turned into a conflict. Schmitz and TMC resolved the conflict by guiding both men and groups in cultural competency.

Another interesting point Schmitz shared is judgment based on the duration of eye contact in a learning environment or the workplace. Socially we construct the idea based on subtle time differences in eye contact and then conclude attributes such as attentiveness, alertness, or engagement based on the duration. Think about characteristics you would perceive that a leader would have. Duration of eye contact is dependent on ones cultural experience and not attentiveness, alertness, or engagement. Think about the last time you passed judgment in the academic environment or in the professional setting.

How do you address the professor? Do you raise your hand before making a point or asking a question? How do you greet potential employers/employees?

For more information Global Leadership Program contact Sherrod Williams at [email protected] or Idil Abubakar at [email protected]

About the Contributor
Edson Bueno served as the following positions at The Mass Media for the following years: Managing Editor: 2007-2008; Fall 2008; 2009-2010 *Business Manager: Spring 2009; Fall 2009 *Culture and Diversity: Spring 2009 *These positions were introduced in Spring 2009, when Bueno took the position.