Rockefeller Global Leadership Program

Self-Expression Through Capoeira

During last week’s Rockefeller Global Leadership Program (RGLP) we had the opportunity to practice Capoeira, a Brazilian martial art.

Our Capoeira instructor, Fabio “Fua” Nascimiento began our session by teaching us a Brazilian song. We learned each lyric and emphasized each tone. Next, Fua taught us how to play several Brazilian instruments, and we combined our singing with music. As Fua noticed our hesitation to sing loudly, he taught us a valuable lesson. Fua explained that his culture has no word for “awkward” and the feeling does not exist in his culture. As Fua’s energy brightened the room, I noticed I was no longer scared to sing amongst my group. Rather, Fua encouraged me to embrace Capoeira and not care about how I appeared to other people.

Psychological Phenomena in the Workplace

Dr. Morris, Chief Officer of Diversity and Multiculturalism and Title IX Coordinator at Keene State College, led a Rockefeller Global Leadership Program (RGLP) session on perspective. Although it seemed rather cloak-and-dagger at first, the opening activity on the placement of chairs was refreshing in how literal it was and set the tone for the rest of the session. Dr. Morris' training in clinical psychology and experience in pedagogy are some of the qualities I hope to embody in my own career - the fact that she is a black woman from Louisiana was affirming to me in a way that perhaps it may not have been for many of the other RGLP members. 

The activity we did where we had to answer questions about each other without speaking to each other was yet another almost blatantly obvious lesson in cultural assumptions and stereotyping. It was viscerally uncomfortable for many of us, which is interesting considering the fact that we make assumptions about each other on a daily basis without necessarily being aware of it. It sparked a productive conversation that we all seemed invested in.

An Introduction to Global Leadership with Dr. Gama Perruci

Dr. Gama Perruci, Dean of the McDonough Leadership Center at Marietta College, facilitated one of the most engaging, entertaining, and eye-opening lectures I've ever been a part of.

From the very start, we were parts of the complex puzzle of cultural competency that he was putting together. Dr. Perruci explained concepts using us as role-playing examples, which made the lessons more real.

Our simulation of a welcome ceremony on a small island made me think outside of the box and confront my cultural biases. This ritual, which we thought to be somewhat odd - and almost demeaning - in many ways, actually reflected ideals such as female empowerment and respect.

Dr. Perucci showed us our cultural biases and how they can "contaminate" our world view, thus holding us back from becoming true global citizens. While the lecture itself was incredibly informative, I found the lessons learned useful in every day interactions with my friends. I have many friends from different backgrounds and this lecture gave me a little more insight into why they may approach certain "norms" in the ways that they do. 

Beyond Cultural Comfort Zones

During week six, the 17W Rockefeller Global Leadership Program cohort attempted Capoeira, a Brazilian martial art form that combines elements of dance, acrobatics and music.

To say the very least, Capoeira is a workout. A workout that requires a unique combination of grace, control, and power. As the instructor, Fabio “Fua” Nascimento, led us through a number of activities, he explained both the physical activity, and the cultural history and significance behind it. 

We dodged and ducked each other’s limbs to the rhythm, got lower to the ground without falling than I had thought was possible, and attempted what looked like a rotating handstand.

With respect to the true art form, Capoeira, I can say with some degree of confidence that it will never be an area in which I truly excel. What our cohort ultimately encountered was physical challenge and discomfort in the attempt to perform a cultural and ritualistic art form. This type of physical discomfort in the face of cultural confrontation, unlike any such emotional and mental discomfort, cannot be denied.

Recognizing Rockefeller Center Student Program Assistant: Asha Wills ‘17

Asha initially became involved with the Rockefeller Center her sophomore year by participating in the Management and Leadership Development Program (MLDP) and in the Create Your Path program. These programs caused her to think about how she could align her academic and career interests with her personal goals. Asha next enrolled in the Rockefeller Global Leadership Program (RGLP) because of her mentor, who served as a student program assistant for RGLP at the same. Asha reflects that being a participant in RGLP was an “incredible experience where I met people I otherwise wouldn't have met.”

In her junior year, Asha completed an exchange program in Copenhagen, Denmark and volunteered in Peru through Dartmouth’s Center for Service, where she was constantly thinking about the principles she learned in RGLP. She kept in contact with Vincent Mack, the program officer for RGLP, and when she returned to campus, she joined the Rockefeller Center student staff as a student program assistant for RGLP.

Turn-takers, Pausers, and Interrupters

The Rockefeller Global Leadership Program (RGLP) began the term with a session focused on communication styles and how they are informed by culture. One activity in particular introduced students to the idea that people’s conversation styles can largely be categorized into three patterns. The turn-taker: a person who waits until the other person is finished talking before speaking. The pauser: a person who not only waits until the other finishes talking before talking in turn, but actually allows for a pause or silence before talking. The interrupter: a person who tends to cut the other person in conversation off by starting to speak before the other is finished speaking.

RGLP participants, Frederikke Fürst and Marcus Gresham, share their reflections here on this particular activity.

Increasing Students' Intercultural Leadership Competencies

The Rockefeller Global Leadership Program (RGLP) was first piloted in the 2012 spring term to develop the leadership competencies of students during intercultural experiences, both academic and professional, while at Dartmouth and beyond. RGLP begins each term on campus with weekly sessions. There is a culminating fieldwork excursion during its seventh week that helps students experience cultural diversity firsthand.

During the 2016 Winter term, 24 RGLP participants, along with the Center’s Deputy Director Sadhana Hall and Program Officer Vincent Mack, traveled to New York City for the off-campus portion of the program, organized in large part with the hands-on involvement of two Center Board of Visitors, Robert Tichio ’99 and Maya Wiley ’86, who work in the city.

“We have a unique opportunity to engage this generation of up-and-coming leaders to make a difference in the communities where they work and serve,” said Robert Tichio, Partner and Managing Director of Riverstone Holdings, who moderated a panel discussion of three fellow alumni on “Diversity in the Public and Private Workplace: Advancing Understandings of Race, Gender and LGBT Identities.”

Intercultural Communication Through Language Perceptions

“Do they teach you English in school?”, “Do your parents speak in English too? (Yes.) As well as you do?” or “Why don’t you have more of an accent?” are only some questions I have received as an Indian student at Dartmouth. They helped me understand how language was an integral element that informed one’s cultural identity, and the way one interacts with his/her environment. As I walked into Ms. Anya’s session on Intercultural Communication, I believed myself to be adequately cognizant of what it meant to communicate across cultures, but boy was I wrong.

Solving 21st Century Problems Demands Intercultural Competence

This RGLP session focused on Capoeira, a Brazilian martial art, something I had never heard of before. As the instructor, Fabio “Fua” Nascimento, led us through a number of activities, I started to piece together what Capoeira was: both the physical activity, and the cultural history and significance behind it. 

One of the parts of the program that I found especially thought-provoking was the partner-dance component.  Each person was paired with a partner of the opposite sex, and our instructor stressed the importance of physical closeness, in order to communicate via body language, rather than spoken words.  We were all awkward and self-conscious in the beginning, but by the end of the dancing segment, I felt as though we had gotten into the swing of things, so to speak.

The Art of Capoeira, Living Within Oneself

Our RGLP cohort gathered at Rocky as usual, but our regular garb was replaced by sweatpants and sneakers and there was an apparent anxiety on everyone’s faces.  We did not address this anxiety as we joked around and walked across campus to the gym.  Tension was building as we finally entered a room where a slim man with long dreadlocks stood smiling at us.  His smile was infectious and it almost seemed that he could not help his mouth from spreading into that position if he were to let it sit for any number of seconds.  We gathered in a circle, shoeless and unprepared for what was to come.  There were pieces of paper on the floor with foreign words on them and the video sample of the capoeira we were about to partake in showed people chanting and doing flips in a circle.  I had no idea what I was doing.

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