Rosenberg, Samatar to explain IGC Tuesday

By Mari Mejia

President Brian Rosenberg and Institute for Global Citizenship Dean Ahmed Samatar will explain how the Instiute for Global Citizenship was developed, and what it can do for the community at a question and answer session and introductory presentation, “The Institute for Global Citizenship: What is it?” at 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 7. Macalester announced the Q&A session, which will be held at 4:30 p.m. in the Chapel, one week after The Mac Weekly’s March 7 staff editorial,”IGC: It’s generally confusing,” gave voice to some students’ lack of understanding about what exactly the IGC is.

Planning for the Institute began more than three years ago and the project formally kicked off in Fall 2006. Since then, the IGC has developed programs and academic opportunities, such as 100 Projects for Peace, the Maastricht study away program, the Lilly Project and a growing internship program for students with an emphasis on global citizenship. These programs are intended to help students apply their campus experiences to local, national and international contexts.

Because Samatar and his colleagues constructed the Institute in a piecemeal fashion, many of the administrative services associated with it were divided between different offices across campus rather than in one centralized location. This may have contributed to some of the confusion, Associate Dean for the IGC Karin Trail-Johnson said.

“It’s a slower process than students imagined,” she said. “This is a process. The Institute was declared before the resources were there, such as the building, funding and additional staffing.”

President Rosenberg said he believes the gradual process was a positive choice, but acknowledges that it could cause confusion for future Macalester classes.

“The student body changes each year by a fourth,” he said. “We have to re-explain, re-describe things, and there was a general sense that there wasn’t a significant level of understanding about what the IGC was about. Something that doesn’t have a space and is not located anywhere lends to a certain amount of confusion about what it is.”

According to Trail-Johnson and Rosenberg, Tuesday’s talk will facilitate better communication and exchange of ideas for new ways of creating global citizenship opportunities for Macalester students. They will also discuss the May groundbreaking of the new IGC building, which will allow services such as the Civic Engagement Center, International Center and Internship Program to be located under one roof.

Blythe Austin ’08, student liaison to the Board of Trustees, stressed the importance of a strong student turnout to the presentation and Q&A session.

“It’s an opportunity for students to hear what the college’s leaders are thinking and also to have a place to ask questions – both questions of confusion and more critical questions,” she said. “Students are right to say, ‘we don’t know what it is,’ but we have to take advantage of opportunities to learn what the Institute for Global Citizenship is, otherwise our concerns and confusions won’t be taken as seriously because we didn’t take advantage to learn.