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Franklin student Fred Coleman ’19 attended the summer 2018 Global Alliance Institute conference titled Leadership and Liberal Arts: A Foundation for Social Good, hosted this past June on the campus of FLAME University in Pune, India. Joining Fred were Franklin Professor Roberto Cordón, co-chair of the Department of International Relations and Political Science, and staff member Russell Martin, director of Student Leadership and Engagement at FUS.

Franklin Student Fred Coleman, first row, second from the left

Roberto Cordón (left) and Russell Martin

The Institute was attended by 59 faculty, staff and students from 25 Alliance schools, along with 26 students from 12 countries. Students attended sessions and workshops, worked in small groups on issues pertaining to leadership and leadership development, and developed panel presentations.

As observed by Professor Cordón, “The notion of leadership as service aligns well with the missions of Alliance institutions that, like Franklin, believe in the development of the whole person, preparing each student for a life of meaning – in their career and personal life – with a sense of service beyond self.” Precisely, “Fred, Professor Cordón and I were there not just to represent Franklin,” remarked Russell, “but also to make a joint presentation of FUS’ initiatives regarding the role of leadership courses and co-curricular activities in a liberal arts education.”

The experience provided Fred with numerous case studies of curricular, co-curricular and extra-curricular programs in which leadership skills and behaviors are needed to solve problems. “What these programs have in common,” he remarked, “is that they challenge us as students, by asking us to tackle problems, often from the local community, whose solutions are not immediately obvious and require that we interact closely, questioning and listening, with people who have had very different life experiences.”

The 2018 Leadership and Liberal Arts Institute demonstrates the value of the Franklin experience. Franklin brings people of different backgrounds together and provides an environment within which they can come to understand commonalties and differences. As Fred noted, “It has been especially rewarding for me to get a broader insight into the forms that leadership can take. Each individual person at the forum had something to contribute and I am proud that I was able to represent Franklin.”

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