The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

Macalester's new communal property


Given the recent announcement by President Brian Rosenberg of the creation of the Institute for Global Citizenship, I assume that our community is naturally curious to know, in greater detail, the reasons behind the formation of the Institute as well as its mission, specific programming, and general role in the life of the College. To be sure, the founding document now on file articulates thoroughly the contours of the new enterprise. With an anticipation of that rightful interest, however, I would like to begin what ought to be (and has been, albeit in representative form) an inclusive and on-going conversation with an assertion, followed by a listing of some specific activities on the way. I assure members of the community that, in principle, the Institute is to be available for all of those associated, in one way or another, with Macalester. Yes, a division of tasks seems to be an inherent aspect of collective existence and, accordingly in this instance, some of us have been given particular assignments within the Institute. As individuals and as a team, the staff of the Institute will bring optimum dedication to those responsibilities. In addition, we are aware of the fact that such a work could only be undertaken, let alone consummated with a sense of achievement, if we are constantly mindful of our College’s greatest tradition: a humane and intellectual ambiance characterized by openness, integrity, respectful of difference yet cognizant of the indispensability of mutuality and larger belonging. Though the official work of the Institute will not commence until the opening of the new academic year, we are eager to engage as well as inform the community. In that spirit, I wish to bring to your attention the following and upcoming activities:

A. Students and the Institute (Tuesday, December 6, 5:00 – 7:00 p.m., Kagin): This is designed in the mode of a Town Hall forum. The main aim of this session, with another coming in the spring, is to enter into a dialogic exchange with students on matters pertaining to the role of the students in the making and development of the Institute, and, conversely, possible contributions of the Institute to their learning lives.

B. An Evening with the Alumni (Thursday, February 9, 7:00 p.m – 9:00 p.m):

This evening will focus on establishing a conversation with our alumni in the state of Minnesota, and particularly the Cities. The intention is to explore together ways in which the alumni can offer their talents and time to valorize the Institute, and, in the end, the College.

C. Moments with Faculty and Staff (To Be Arranged):

In addition to the students, these two groups are critical stakeholders of the College. Our wish is to bring forth occasions whereby members of the faculty and staff will share their

thoughts on how this new venture might gather momentum and pay off for the College.

D. Inaugural Conference “Global Citizenship: Civic Engagement in the Twenty-first

Century” (March 23 – 25, 2006).

This conference is intended to be a prefiguration of a spring tradition. In broad terms, it will focus on civic engagement through various explorations of the multiple dimensions of the concept of citizenship in the presence of quotidian ideals and pressures. The particulars are still being worked out, but our hope is that, beyond the inaugural, this initiative will center students’ work in the neighborhood and beyond.

On behalf of my colleagues, I conclude by repeating the pledge: in essence, the Institute is and will be a communal property. Consequently, its full value for the College and those communities we touch will depend on, among others, a combination of the devotion of those responsible for the immediate tasks and the solidarity of the great stakeholders of the College. I invite you to join both the conversation about and the construction of this exciting Macalester innovation.

Professor Samatar is the James Wallace Professor and Dean of International Studies.

Contact him at [email protected].

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