January/February 2018
Global Engagement Edition
Peacebuilding and Conflict Resolution
Dear Colleague:

The astronaut and writer Ron Garan has written that the “earth is a small town with many neighborhoods in a very big universe.” Yet, many of us spend little time away from our immediate surroundings and comfort zones. Because of what the internet can access, we feel we are connected to those far away and can experience vicariously different cultures and environments. To some extent that may be the case, but nothing can replace engaging one-on-one in person with someone who comes from a different culture. Travel to foreign and distant lands can provide insights and perspectives that "readjust" ones views of themselves and their role in the world. Mark Twain wrote in The Innocents Abroad in 1869 that "travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness." In this newsletter, I am focusing on global engagement. (In other newsletters I've looked at experiential learning, careers and education ).

This past December and January I had the opportunity to visit southern Africa. I've always wanted to visit Africa, but could never figure out how to justify the expense and time. With our son serving in the Peace Corps in Namibia, it was easy to justify visiting! We had the chance to spend much of our time with him. We traveled through Zambia (visiting Victoria Falls), then Namibia, and finally ended up in South Africa. I published a piece recently in the Baltimore Sun about our journey and what we experienced and learned.

Travel is more than just soaking in the atmosphere that is around you. It's about seeking opportunities to learn and challenge preconceived notions of others. At times, it can give you the chance to walk in the shoes of someone else who is experiencing life in a very different way. While in Namibia, we spent time with our son's Namibian family. As is the practice in the Peace Corps, volunteers are matched with families to help in their adjustment, but also to provide them a community and family to learn from and become close to. While eating "braai" (grilled meat) we learned about the challenges and opportunities of family life in Namibia. While in Cape Town and staying in an AirBnB, we were reminded by our hosts of the dire water crisis in the city and that we needed to conserve. This is something as east coast Americans we think little of. Visiting Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela spent 18 years imprisoned, we were guided by a former political prisoner who lives on the island with his family and other former guards as an act of reconciliation. I wrote about the visit here .

Of course, global engagement takes places in other ways besides travel. In our own local communities we see and can get know people who have recently arrived to our neighborhood through choice and are looking for new opportunities, or because they are fleeing persecution and conflict in their home lands. We should ask ourselves, how can we better connect with them to make the world a better place?

Engagement can take place through learning - both formal and informal - or through virtual experiences via technology, media, and the worldwide web. What global engagement are you actively participating in?

The photo at the top was not taken by my son this time. Rather he is in the photo with both his Namibian and American families. His family reunion!

David J. Smith
January 29, 2018

PS: If you feel that you are receiving this newsletter in error, I apologize. You can "unsubscribe" using the button at the bottom of the page. 

Photo credit: David J. Smith
International Students in the U.S. Decline in Numbers
What are the trends in international student enrollment in the U.S.? Apparently, we are now seeing a decline. This article from Inside Higher Education looks at data from the National Science Foundation. Is this part of the Trump effect?
Visiting Robben Island
I had the chance to visit Robben Island when I was in Cape Town. It was the opportunity of a lifetime! The highlight was meeting Itumeleng Makwela, who is a guide there, but was a political prisoner there in the 1980s. Click here to read about my visit . I have included a short video of this talk with us.
Working Abroad and Paying off Your Loans
I believe all college graduates should consider working abroad, even if for a short period of time. This piece from Huffington Post discusses the financial benefits of working abroad.

Forage Center for Peacebuilding and Humanitarian Education
March 2018 Coastal Promise Simulation
Registration Extended Until 2/23/18
Scholarship Assistance Available

If you are a graduate student and interested in building your capacity for working in crises where humanitarian and peacebuilding responses are needed, consider attending the  Forage Center for Peacebuilding and Humanitarian Education’s   annual Coastal Promise program in Fellsmere, FL, USA, March 15-18, 2018. The fee is $625 for enrolled graduate students which includes all meals and lodging.

Registration for the upcoming exercise can be completed here.
Information about our scholarship that can cover some of your registration fee is here . For more more information, visit the  Forage Center website Registration closes 2/23/18.
What is Your Global Gig?
I enjoy reading Zits. Though my own children are out of high school, I still learn something from the comics! I posted this editon of Zits last fall. Is this you or your children?
Building a Better World Through Travel Abroad
After returning from southern Africa, I wrote this piece for the Baltimore Sun about our travels. It is a bit travel log, a bit commentary. The photo is of my son in front of his school in Namibia.
Study Abroad Gives a Student a Powerful Edge
A recent IIE study shows that studying abroad has a direct impact on building skills for career success. Read more here .
Talking About Peace
I was honored to give a talk at the TEDxFulbright program "A Curious Picture" in June 2017 at the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center. Click here to view it.
Peace Jobs: A Student's Guide to Starting a Career Working for Peace
  Peace Jobs was recently reviewed by ACResolution

  “It isn’t often that a new book offers something fresh and of personal value to students, their families, and a professional field.  Peace Jobs: A Student’s Guide to Starting a Career Working for Peace does this and more.
Information Age Publishing has recently reduced the price of Peace Jobs to make it more affordable to students. It is now available for $33.99 . It can also be ordered in a  Kindle edition .  
Career Coaching

Are you looking to make a career change in 2018 and looking at the international education, peacebuilding or conflict resolution fields? I am career coaching younger and mid-career professionals who are looking to make change. 

"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime"
-Mark Twain
David J. Smith Consulting ||