October 3, 2018
By: Patrick Terrien
Letter from the President & CEO:
I recently read an article in Columbus CEO entitled “Delivering the Messages of Transparency and Civility” in which the article focuses on the Columbus Partnership and how it has embraced the core principles of transparency and civility. As I read the article, I began reflecting on the work that we do at the Columbus Council on World Affairs, and asked myself, “Are we helping to achieve these goals? And, if so, how?”
My answer was an affirming, “yes.” Through our Global Scholars Diploma Program we reach more than 1200 high school students from 21 school districts across the central Ohio region. These students spend three years choosing to participate in our experiential learning program working toward a graduation credential that puts them in front of community volunteers with varying cultural backgrounds, volunteers who have global careers, and volunteer experts who speak on the most relevant and pertinent global issues facing our planet. Through these close interactions and conversations, students learn skills necessary for the global workforce, how to take real action and make change on global issues, and how to embrace new perspectives, both practicing and modeling civility throughout the process.
The day following the turbulent Presidential election of 2016, we had nearly 150 students at one of our face-to-face events. Sensing various emotions and the need for discussion in the room, we partially abandoned the set curriculum for the day and allowed students to share their thoughts, concerns, joys, and worries about the results of the election. One student said she was concerned that she and her family were going to be deported, while another student spoke of his delight that there was some sign of change coming to our country and that his rural region might, once again, be able to flourish. But perhaps the best thing about the conversation, was the way that the students listened to one another, the way they spoke transparently, and reacted and spoke with civility. The conversation was incredibly powerful not only for the students in the room, but also for the adult facilitators, educators, and chaperones as well.
The conversation was an affirmation that we, as adults, and as Americans can and should be able to communicate with such civility with one another. Perhaps we could all learn a lesson or two from these young people who will ultimately be the leaders of our communities, our country, and our world.
President & CEO