Madeline: Diversity Abroad Global Inclusive Leadership Certificate (June 2021)

I have been fortunate enough to have had the opportunity to be apart of the 2021 cohort for the Diversity Abroad Global Inclusive Leadership virtual programme. The world around us as well as the people within it are constantly changing and the ways in which we can identify and express ourselves are evolving ever so rapidly. I decided to participate in this programme as I knew there was so much about the world that I was unaware of.

This course provides you with the opportunity to not only meet and become friends with fellow students from around the world, but it also teaches you how to best understand, utilise and embrace one’s differences. This course teaches you that there is no set and “correct” way of being a leader, but that everyone has the potential to become a leader. We are all given a different set of weaknesses that put us at certain disadvantages, but we are also all given a set of strengths that if utilised can take us to places we never thought possible.

Throughout the duration of this course, I was able to identify the leadership style which I have, my own weaknesses which I was able to improve and turn into strengths as well as always remembering to look at things from a different perspective. My personal journey throughout this course taught me that for one to be an effective leader, they must be able to take a step back and look at situations in someone else’s shoes. An effective leader should have the ability to display empathy and avoid personal bias within the workspace. An effective leader should be able to notice when there is an opportunity to push those around them to reach their full potential and when to allow individuals to take a step back and breathe. An effective leader tries their best to be fully aware of the culture and atmosphere set in the workplace and should always aim to find ways for improvement in all things.

Thanks to the valuable content I was able to learn through this course, I am confident that I am on my way to taking the necessary steps to ensuring that one day I am able to become an effective leader. For any future students who are considering this course, I highly recommend it. It is not overly time consuming where it puts your studies and current commitments at risk, but it is also not a course which does not provide enough engaging content and material. Diversity and inclusion of it in all aspects of life is the future. Diversity and inclusion is the only way to success.

Fiza: Diversity Abroad Global Inclusive Leadership Certificate – The 360  International Blog

Molly: Diversity Abroad Global Inclusive Leadership Certificate (June 2021)

The Global Inclusive Leadership Certificate (GILC) is a nine-week online course covering concepts such as leadership and identity theory, cultural humility, critical race theory, intercultural communication, perspective shifting and emotional agility. Having never taken a leadership course I wasn’t sure what to expect, but it was a very worthwhile experience and I would recommend it.

The course has nine modules of self-paced learning, with a new module opening each week. Course content is a mix of theory, case studies and personal reflections guided by questions. I was a little surprised at how much thought and time the personal reflection part of the course took, but it was rewarding and gave me personal insights I would not have come to without the course. The workload was reasonable – around 4-6 hours per week, with variation from week to week. The flexible nature of the module learning was beneficial to balance with university work and allowed for time to reflect properly on the course content too. There are a few submissions during the course – a two-page critical incident reflection, a perspective shifting exercise, some video reflections and a final project. These reinforced the course content well.

I found the perspective shifting exercise and surrounding teaching on empathy and emotional agility to be particularly useful. Perspective shifting and empathy are not concepts that are explicitly taught in many courses. If mentioned, they usually come in the form of buzzwords. The concrete skills and methods GILC introduced were not something I had come across before, and were useful not only in a career context but also as life skills.

One of the best things about the course was the three zoom sessions with a relatively small cohort of 12-15 people from around the world. Meeting people from many different countries with different perspectives and experiences was thought provoking and enjoyable. The course has strong organisation and support systems – the course coordinator, Lizzy, was happy to help with questions. The University of Auckland 360 team were also supportive – they checked in throughout the course, which I really appreciated.

While a leadership course could hypothetically be quite intimidating, the GILC team make no assumptions about whether you define yourself as a ‘leader’ already or not. It is more focussed on teaching students the skills to be critical thinkers, and empathetic, intercultural communicators – ultimately giving students the tools to progress towards inclusive, confident and competent leadership. I’m very grateful to have been given this opportunity, and I will use the knowledge and skills I have learned with me throughout my tertiary education and in my career.

Fiza: Diversity Abroad Global Inclusive Leadership Certificate – The 360  International Blog

Lauren: Diversity Abroad Global Inclusive Leadership Certificate (March 2021)

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!

Fiza: Diversity Abroad Global Inclusive Leadership Certificate – The 360  International Blog

Lisa: Diversity Abroad Global Inclusive Leadership Certificate (October 2020)

If you are looking for a course that will challenge and inspire you in ways you hadn’t even considered possible, I encourage you to look no further than the Global Inclusive Leadership certificate offered by Diversity Abroad.

In my experience, a lot of so called “leadership certificates” can often be so dry, simply reiterating what we have already heard a million times before. I can however confidently say that this course couldn’t be further from that. Filled with inspiring modules, videos that had me pausing them every three seconds to reflect on the truth bombs that had just been dropped on me and many opportunities for interaction, this leadership course is one that offers solutions.

We are all in need of the leadership skills offered in this course, whether you’ve considered yourself a leader since you crawled out of the crib or whether the word “leadership” alone makes you want to crawl into a hole and hide – everyone has something to learn from this course. I personally definitely identify more with the crawling-into-a-hole variety, and yet I have found myself opening up and taking initiative much more than I had done prior to the course.

I have learnt that you don’t need be leading a march with torch in hand or hurling commands at others to be considered a leader, but that empathetic and inspiring leadership can be all the more effective.

Caitlin: Diversity Abroad Global Inclusive Leadership Certificate (October 2020)

I had the privilege of being involved in the Diversity Abroad Global Inclusive Leadership Certificate, which took place virtually over 9 weeks in late October-December 2020. The programme encompassed 4-6 hours of weekly module completion as well as three online live events which were recorded.

Initially I did not know what to expect from the programme, besides what I had read in the programme description. The initial application process was not too difficult and the 360 International Staff at University, were very helpful. The programme consisted of 9 weeks’ worth of modules including video submissions, readings, assigned video’s to watch and a final community project. Everything was conducted online so the flexibility of the programme helped while I finished off university exams.

The three live sessions took place on zoom with the other programme participants; there were around 10-15 of us around the world. The first module focussed on leadership and identity which helped to ease into the deeper content that we learnt. My favourite module was module 6 which focused on inclusive leadership: unlocking the value of diversity and inclusion. This was because we learnt about what inclusive leadership was, what 4 key areas inclusive leaders excel in, and reflected on empathy and leadership. Empathy was one of my key takeaways from this programme; I was able to further develop and understand my own level of empathy as a leader, and work towards being a more empathetic inclusive leader in different environments. I believe this is crucial for leaders to develop.

Another key takeaway was from module 5: examining local, global and intercultural issues. This was interesting and eye opening as we learnt about ‘critical race theory’ and unpacked what ‘privilege’ is. As someone who is engaging in being an inclusive leader, this was very important.

A challenge during the programme was the virtual format of the programme given Covid-19 and University teaching turning to online format also. This made looking at the computer screen more difficult as I would already be spending 5-10 hours a day studying online, thus can get mentally tiring. Some advice I would give to students thinking about virtual programmes is to think about your why; why are you wanting to give it a go? what do you hope to achieve? how will you keep connections throughout the programme? and, what can you do to implement what you learnt back into your everyday life and life vision? Make the most of every opportunity.

I am very thankful that I was given this opportunity and it has definitely helped to further develop my inclusive leadership skills.

Fiza: Diversity Abroad Global Inclusive Leadership Certificate (October 2020)

Despite the disruptions caused by the pandemic this year, I was given the opportunity to undertake an exciting virtual programme with the help of the 360 international team. The programme was titled, “Diversity Abroad Global Inclusive Leadership Certificate” and ran for 9 weeks, starting from mid October to mid December. I was required to attend three live sessions with the programme coordinators and students from other countries who were also participating in this programme. As for the programme itself, it was divided into 9 modules, each comprising specific activities such as written reflections, videos, articles and also assignments that had to be completed before the end of the programme.

I truly enjoyed the programme because of various reasons. Firstly, due to its flexible nature, I could complete the modules at my own pace while also studying my courses at university. However, at the same time, my advice to future students would be to manage their time effectively and not leave the completion of the modules to the last minute. It would be a good idea to do small portions of the modules throughout the week so that you can finish the programme by the due date. At times when you feel stressed or find something confusing, your first action should be to contact your coordinator as they are very responsive to emails and will do their best to assist you.

Secondly, this programme taught me many crucial skills related to intercultural communication and inclusive leadership. I was exposed to many new and complex concepts such as emotional agility, empathy, critical race theory, cultural humility, Galtung’s triangle of violence, six personal leadership practices, privilege and many more. An example of a situation where I developed one of these skills was when I had to complete an assignment on the six personal leadership practices. This assignment required me to write a short report on a critical incident that I had encountered in my life. After assessing this incident by walking through the six practices, my view of the situation had changed drastically and I was able to find a way to manage conflict of ideas while working with people from diverse cultural backgrounds. Such a skill will be extremely beneficial for not just my future career but also nearly in any sphere of life. This is because, in a globalised world, it is nearly impossible to not have critical incidents at some point of your life when working with a diversity of people. However, this skill has taught me how I can find a middle ground with my colleagues or fellows during such tense situations without sacrificing my own goals and visions entirely.

Lastly, I truly enjoyed being part of engaging conversations with other students in the programme during the live sessions. It helped me to not only expand my network, but also gave me insight into how other students from different parts of the world were trying to be inclusive leaders in their own communities. By listening to their ideas and also voicing my own learnings, I believe that I was able to become a more confident individual, and feel as though I belonged to a global community. For this reason, I would encourage more students to partake in such a programme because it will definitely provide them with unique perspectives and a sense of global citizenship.

Sophie: Diversity Abroad Global Inclusive Leadership Certificate (October 2020)

The Global Inclusive Leadership programme by Diversity Abroad. The first time I read that title, I scrolled right past. It might as well have been called Innovative Synergies in Entrepreneurship or some other jargon-filled horror. But COVID-19 gave me too much free time, so I scrolled back and read some more. I decided to sign up once I saw that it was going through theories of leadership and diversity. ‘Theory’ indicated depth and I was intrigued. I decided to give it a shot and apply. I got in.

Nine weeks of online modules on topics ranging from theories of leadership to Critical Race Theory. Three one-hour online sessions. A few written and video assignments here and there. Seemed manageable. Little did I know, this was not going to be an exercise in empty words and jargon – it had substance, and substance takes time and emotional introspection. The first week I discovered that I am a contrarian leader. All the features of my leadership style that I thought were unique quirks fell neatly into this unfamiliar category. My propensity to put off decisions until the last minute was not born from indecisiveness, but a desire to have fuller information and make decisions based on my most recent emotional position. My contradictory views reflected a rejection of binary thinking and embracing complexity. It validated and enlightened my knowledge of my own leadership style and taught me how to leverage the abilities I have because of my contrarian style.

Then leadership interacted with identity. This was the point where I feared repetitive narratives. There were ideas I’d already heard time and time again, but there were also fresh, rigorous ideas. I learnt the history behind some popular buzzwords, for example, cultural humility and cultural competency. It challenged my view that words such as these are inherently empty and almost meaningless. They have a rich history, sometimes a long history. Cultural humility originated in healthcare and is a process that challenges the popularity of cultural competence. It says that, in order to work and live well in diverse situations, you must adopt the right attitude towards difference, not merely have knowledge of the substance of different cultures. If you merely focus on cultural competence, then you may be unintentionally upholding harmful attitudes even as you think you are being inclusive. For example, you may impose your ideas of what a culture believes or values onto a situation without being open to learn from the situation in the moment, or being aware that individuals within cultures may not conform strictly to the norms within their communities. This idea spurred a variety of movements in healthcare and the workers rights movement.

If you are conflicted about whether a virtual programme is worth your time, particularly one to do with leadership and/or inclusiveness, I would strongly recommend giving it a go. Many people seem to think that leadership and inclusiveness are common sense – are things that come naturally that don’t need to be studied. I’m convinced now more than ever that that perception is wrong. If you think inclusiveness comes naturally, you are probably the exact person who needs to take the course and interrogate their assumptions. I sure needed to.