IGC board meets for first time

By Annie Flanagan

The Institute for Global Citizenship’s national advisory board met for the first time on campus since its creation in 2005. The small, closed meeting consisted of a “getting to know each other” session for the seven or eight board members present and a student showcase, said Ahmed Samatar, dean of the institute.This week the college released the full list of the board members, which includes “distinguished diplomats, businessmen, scholars and policy makers,” according to a March 11 College Relations press release. Kofi Annan, Walter Mondale, Lord Daniel Brennan and George Latimer are a of the few members of the board.

“The goal of the meeting was to try to explore the vision for the new IGC,” student presenter Carolyn Loeb ’08 said. “As this was the first meeting, I think we made some good headway on this account.”

Samatar said that the meeting “was very good,” and that “the student showcase was really the centerpiece of the meeting.” With this introductory meeting behind them, he said, the future ones should be only more substantive.

The IGC, which seeks to unite civic engagement and internationalism, is still in its development stage, Associate Dean of the IGC Karin Trail-Johnson said.

“The institute takes two historic pillars of the college and intertwines them for a common goal of global citizenship,” she said, adding that a major step forward will be when “all the programs will be housed under one roof.”

“When we are in the same building, it will be easier to find commonalities” between the many different facets of the IGC, Trail-Johnson said. The construction of this building has a projected cost of $7.5 million, which will come from the Capital Campaign, according to Tommy Bonner, vice president for advancement and development.

The IGC consists of the Civic Engagement Center, the International Center, International Programming and the Internship Program, according to the 2006-07 Annual Report. In addition to these previously existing programs, the IGC Student Council, the Campus-wide Advisory Committee and the Global Advisory Board were added.

None of the Board’s most prominent members, including Annan, Chairman of the NAACP Julian Bond and Mondale were present at the meeting. But Samatar said that Harry Boyt, director of the Center for Democracy and Citizenship at the Humphrey Institute at the University of MN, and Carleen K. Rhodes, president of the St. Paul Foundation, were able to attend.

“Through their careers and personal lives,” Trail-Johnson said, the 15 people on the advisory board “have sought to live out the values of global citizens.”

Hector Pascual-Alvarez ’08, a member of the student council and the other student to speak at the board meeting, emphasized the importance of the IGC involvement on many levels.

“Carolyn and I mentioned how important it is to make the students a central part of the institute,” he said.

Loeb also mentioned her ongoing involvement in the Civic Engagement Center as a reason she was asked to speak. The CEC is a major grounding force for the IGC, Trail-Johnson explained. “The ‘global’ citizenship implies local, national and international perspectives in all three arenas,” she said. “The CEC tends to focus on local engagement which helps to remember there is always a local dimension to engaging where you are and being rooted in one place.