Global Opportunities for Global Citizens

2010-2011 Sagan National Colloquium offers a world of opportunity

Image courtesy of OWU’s Sagan National Colloquium.

Ohio Wesleyan University’s 2010-2011 Sagan National Colloquium (SNC) “highlights OWU’s growing focus on educating future leaders to meet the demands of a global society,” says Richelle Schrock, Ph.D., faculty coordinator of this year’s Colloquium.

“This year, the SNC, questions how to conceive of citizenship when the scientific, economic, and political institutions that govern our lives are operative on a global scale,” says Schrock, director of Women’s and Gender Studies. “Students who participate in the fall lecture series as well as the spring 2011 Sagan Fellows travel-learning courses will take away a more comprehensive understanding of what active citizenship means in the context of globalization.”

Internationally known women’s rights advocate and Toledo, Ohio, native Gloria Steinem headlines this year’s Colloquium speaker list, which over time also has included U.S. President Gerald Ford and authors Kurt Vonnegut Jr. (“Slaughterhouse-Five”) and Barbara Erhenreich (“Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America.”)

Steinem, a vocal champion of women’s rights since the late 1960s, will discuss “Women, Activism, and Change on a Global Level” at 4 p.m. October 8 in Gray Chapel. Visit the Sagan National Colloquium Web site for a complete list of scheduled speakers and topics.

Schrock says students who participate in the fall SNC lecture series will “meet and learn from a diverse group of scholars and activists who address issues of global concern in their work.”

The Colloquium will kick off September 7 with Sheila Croucher, Ph.D., a political science professor from Miami University. Dr. Croucher will present a lecture titled “The Case for Global Citizenship,” which will explore the importance of a more expansive definition of citizenship for the 21st century”, Schrock says.

“The speakers who follow will present on topics including environmental pollution, Muslim American political identity, the Mexican diaspora, the role of women as global leaders, and international security policy,” Schrock says.

“The lecture series is multidisciplinary and aims to expose students to issues of global concern from a variety of perspectives,” Schrock says. “Students will learn about global challenges and also about opportunities for positive change.”

In the spring, students will be able to put their newfound Colloquium theory into practice by participating in the 2011 Sagan Fellows courses. Launched in 2010, these course change each year and provide students with unique hands-on learning opportunities. In 2011, all nine Sagan Fellows courses will include an international travel component.

“[These courses] give students an opportunity to further explore a topic of interest to them associated with the SNC,” Schrock says.

“For example, Dr. [David] Walker from the Department of Geology and Geography will be teaching a course titled ‘Geography, Globalization and Place: The México-U.S. Border at Tijuana’ that will expose students to the impact globalization is having on this important border region between the U.S. and Mexico.” Schrock says. “Students will travel to the San Diego-Mexico border region and will learn first-hand how cultural and economic globalization functions.

“Dr. Shari Stone-Mediatore of the Department of Philosophy will teach ‘Modernity and Colonialism: Global Perspectives on History, Justice, and Truth,’ a course in which students will first study European Enlightenment philosophers and then turn to writers from the global South and indigenous communities who have critical viewpoints on the impact of modernity and globalization on their communities,” continues Schrock, who taught one of OWU’s inaugural Sagan Fellows courses.

“[Dr. Stone-Mediatore’s] course will include a trip to Chiapas, Mexico, where students will learn first-hand about Zapatista politics and culture. Students will live for a week in rustic conditions within a Zapatista community and will live in a cooperative and sustainable manner while they are there,” Schrock says. “While these two courses include travel to Mexico, the other seven courses will be traveling all over the globe including to Japan, Greece, Brazil, Costa Rica, Italy and Bangladesh.”

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