For the past 9 weeks I have had the privilege of partaking in the ‘Diversity Abroad Global Inclusive Leadership’ virtual program. Across these 9 weeks we have been introduced to a number of concepts that are critical for becoming a strong leader. These included cultural humility, critical race theory, intercultural competencies, and inclusive leadership. We explored a number of different theories of identity, from stages of psychosocial development, to intersectionality, and multiculturalism. We were encouraged to think about our own construction of identity – what groups do we identify with, and why, as well as drawing out the features of our personality.
We learned about the dangers of an ethnocentric approach, to be an inclusive leader we must recognize our cultural biases and keep them in perspective. We were introduced to ‘radical empathy’ – an exercise where we put ourselves in someone else’s shoes – but critically, someone who we would not ordinarily identify with. We also looked internally at our own ‘critical incidents’, that is, a moment in our lives where we faced a challenge, and we explored our reactions from the physical to the emotional. The course used a number of different media and learning tools, which kept it interesting and diverse. We read academic articles, grey literature, watched TedTalks, filled in surveys and online tests, as well as modules that were customized by the Diversity Abroad team especially for this certificate.
We also met as a group three times, which allowed us to discuss in real time what we had studied so far. Ruby moderated our live meetings, and she did a wonderful job of guiding our conversations and creating a warm and open environment. This course gave us a leader’s toolkit. We reflected on what was important to us as leaders, and how to strike a balance of maintaining our principles and our unique point of view, without subjugating anyone else at the expense of doing so. Time management can sometimes be a challenge with taking on extracurricular activities, but I managed this by setting aside a block of hours every week and took it in chunks.
We could manage the content on our own time, so I was able to keep it evenly distributed across the course. I appreciated the emphasis on inter-cultural issues, because these things can often be hard to articulate, but the course put into words a broad range of concepts and broke them down week by week so we left with a really great perspective. I highly recommend this course – it was well organized and run, it has very interesting and engaging materials, and I feel I came out of it confident with my leadership identity.
Thanks 360 for this opportunity! And thanks to Ruby and the team at Diversity Abroad!