Going Global

On Veterans Day weekend, Colgate sophomores traveled to Washington, DC to study leadership on a global scale as part of their Sophomore Year Experience (SYE) Seminar entitled, “Leadership: How to Change the World.” The two-and-a-half-day trip was packed with different aspects of how image is influential on a world-scale.

Mr. Jim Gerstein, Executive Director of Democracy Corps and a Colgate alumnus (’92), met with our class to discuss how public perceptions of global issues and national policies impact the campaign strategies of political candidates. Veteran journalist and author Gail Scott, a former anchorwoman for ABC News and currently a correspondent for Washington Life Magazine, accompanied us to the Meridian International Center and later down Embassy Row where images are shaped by public diplomacy. We met with Ambassador Chan from Singapore, toured the Swedish Embassy, visited the United States Holocaust Museum, and studied visitor reactions to the monuments on the Washington Mall.

Washington is a place for chance meetings and surprises. Colgate sophomore Amina Sabanovic overheard her native tongue, Bosnian, while in the hotel lobby. Minutes later, she stood arm-in-arm with the President of Bosnia, Haris Silajdzi, for a photo op! Communications being what they are today, less than one hour later news of her chance meeting reached Amina’s grandparents — in Bosnia! When the Bosnian president learned Amina’s name, he described it as “divno” which roughly translated means “divinely beautiful spirit.” Classmates of Amina noted the President’s kindness and grace as he stood for pictures with some of us and chatted. We discovered later that the president had been involved in exhausting negotiations over the previous 15 days. When President Silajdzi learned that our class was entitled, “Leadership: How to Change the World” he responded, “Good, very good; someone needs to change it.”