The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences

Rockefeller Global Leadership Program

David Millman '23 RGLP Reflection: What are the most important tools in building platform for dialogue across difference?

There couldn’t be a better backdrop for the Rocky Global Leadership Program and this question than the recent presidential election. Regardless of where you land ideologically, over seventy million people voted for each candidate, with significant percentages for each in every state. Throughout the program, I’ve used this ideological divide as a domestic backdrop for ways to build a platform for dialogue across differences.

 

Something I’ve learned throughout this program is that cultural understanding does not happen in a day, a week, a month, or even a year. It is a continual process that you develop throughout your lifetime. With this being said, I believe that the tools for building a platform for dialogue need to be simple to be followed faithfully:

 

Danelia Gossop '23 RGLP Reflection: Third Culture Leadership

While a leader’s style and values can ultimately shape the culture of the group being led, it also works the other way around in the sense that our culture is a product of our experiences. Culture does not necessarily have to be tied to a particular nation or people. Still, there are many people whose ethnic background plays a vital role in their values and beliefs, myself included. Culture also encompasses our habits, morals, knowledge, or very simply — our way of life. Because we all live different lives with unique experiences, we tend to form personal biases. Keeping this in mind, when we enter foreign spaces, it is natural for us to hold on to our biases because they are what we are familiar with, even if we say that we are open-minded and not prejudiced. Due to this very natural human tendency, I believe that it is necessary to create a third culture in multicultural spaces to fully enable effective and fair leadership. The third culture would imply that there are two other cultures present in these spaces;  there is the culture of each individual and there is the local culture of the region or country.

Bryanna Entwistle '23 RGLP Reflection:

This past term of engagement in RGLP has played a significant role in the development of my capacity to lead in this globalized world. I was raised as a third culture kid (TCK), a term used to identify someone who spent their formative years as an expatriate. I was born in Hong Kong and raised in both Mumbai and Singapore, educated through the international school system. As a TCK, I was exposed not only to my host cultures of India and Singapore but also an extensive number of others through my classmates. I had friends from Mongolia, Bolivia, Brunei, and everywhere in between -- I was the only person of european descent in my high school friend group. Coming to Dartmouth marked thus a significant culture shift in my existence. Despite being raised with American parents as a US citizen, I’ve found it hard to fully integrate to the fundamentally elitist, east coast culture that is often perpetuated at Dartmouth. As a result, I’ve found myself missing the casual, globalized conversations that I’ve had with my peers back in Singapore. RGLP has served as an excellent mechanism through which to engage in the kind of conversations that were so prominent throughout my youth.

Brandon Zhou '22 RGLP Reflection: Managing Ambiguity at Dartmouth and Beyond

Often times, we find ourselves in new and unfamiliar environments, whether it be going to college in another state and being surrounded by new friends or travelling to a different country for the first time and not knowing the local language and culture. In these new surroundings, it is important to be adaptable and part of that flexibility is being tolerant and comfortable of ambiguity. While we may not always know how to respond properly and acknowledging that being outside of our comfort zone may feel draining and awkward, we can always choose to respond with grace and an eagerness to learn.

Alayna Kasuri '22 RGLP Reflection:

Globalism and globalization, two phenomena that are picking up more speed than ever during the age of the internet, are increasing our interactions and interdependencies with and on environments that are so different than those in which we were raised. At the same time, the challenge with the rise of a globalized world, as well as easy (surface-level) access to other cultures, makes it difficult for us to know what we do not know. It is crucial that we recognize the importance of delving deeper into our intercultural understandings to resist the temptation of letting our actions be guided by stereotypes and generalizations that have been made prevalent by the internet and mainstream media.

 

Rex Manglicmot RGLP Reflection: Future Leaders of Tomorrow

RGLP was an eye-opening experience that I will never forget. I wanted to build strong leadership skills to aid me in my future endeavors, and RGLP provided that medium. Throughout the term, I got to know members of my cohort who had various backgrounds, interests, cultures, and intellectual curiosity. In our meetings, we discussed how cross-cultural experiences teach us to tolerate ambiguity better and build a platform for dialogue across differences. Because no-one had the same experience, we all were able to provide inputs on contentious topics. The respectful dialogues that came afterward taught us the importance of keeping an open mind. For example, an exciting activity we did was to assess a problematic situation involving a foreigner visiting a different country. Some of us took a position standing by the foreigner’s perception of the situation, while others took the position of standing by the host country’s cultural norms. By understanding both sides of the situation and exploring different interpretations, our group engaged in a healthy discussion that is relatable in real life.

 

Sophie Kwon '22 RGLP Reflection: Moving from Discomfort to Respect and Understanding

Empathy, compassion, and intercultural curiosity are rooted in initial discomfort, which is a good thing.

Globalization is growing. Our intercultural experiences and worldviews are changing, rapidly. We increasingly have the opportunity to communicate and engage with people and cultures unlike our own. This interconnectedness brings us newfound feelings of empathy, compassion, and curiosity, but only when we allow them to develop through initial levels of discomfort. From the Rockefeller Global Leadership Program, I learned about the challenges we face on an individual and societal level while moving from cultural isolation and ignorance to intercultural respect and understanding.

Kayla Hamann '22 RGLP Reflection: Getting Out of My Comfort Zone

When we think of “cultures,” we often think about race and ethnicity, but these aren’t the only aspects of culture. Last summer, I traveled to Poland with Dartmouth Hillel, the center for Jewish life on campus. While on the trip, the rabbi asked if we would like to attend shabbat services at the oldest synagogue in Warsaw but gave one caveat—it was an orthodox synagogue. The rabbi didn’t know if we were comfortable with this as it meant more conservative customs and made it clear we had the option to attend services elsewhere if we wished to. Collectively, we agreed we were up for it and off we went. Now, I’m not Jewish, nor am I even religious; the last time I stepped foot in a center of worship was probably when I was 10 years old. To say I was out of my comfort zone in a synagogue is an understatement, but I was willing to attend the services to learn more about the Jewish culture in Poland. Afte rall, that was the whole point of the trip.

Kathryn Putz '22 RGLP Reflection: Leaning Into Discomfort

I entered the Rockefeller Global Leadership Program seeking a deeper cultural understanding, and a wider array of strategies to interact with people with different backgrounds and perspectives. During my junior year of high school, I hosted a high school student from Shanghai; I shared my daily routine and my physical and personal space with Yolanda. She helped me with my Mandarin and taught my grandma to use chopsticks; I showed her the Portland hipster scene and the beauty of wide-open green space. It was not all, however, a happy cultural sharefest. I recall many strained conversations during which she argued that Taiwan was part of China, that the Tiananmen Square Massacre never happened. This experience, and many others, alerted me to the difficulties of cross-cultural communication, and motivated me to participate in RGLP. 

Julia Gergely '21 RGLP Reflection: Demanding Dialogue in a Globalized World

What are the most important tools in building platform for dialogue across difference?

The need to build a platform for dialogue and understanding is paramount, and becomes increasingly necessary every day. This need exists at every level and in every sector of society—education, fashion, economy, literature, media, government. 

In RGLP, we talked about this need and how our economy and interactions are more globalized than ever. Social media and the internet have helped individual communities grow and has helped expose people to communities different from their own. However, because of this, the internet, globalization, and increasing awareness have also exposed deep differences between communities. These new spaces demand the need even more to navigate these differences and promote dialogue. 

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