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Former Peace Corps Director Stresses Language Skills, Study Abroad

By Adrienne Frank

 The job of engaging the world and building bridges is too important to be left just to politicians and policy makers, said Carol Bellamy, who delivered the keynote address at the 10th annual Intercultural Management Institute (IMI) conference, March 13.

Instead, Bellamy, former director of the Peace Corps and UNICEF, urged the 100 academics and activists in attendance to nurture the next generation of global citizens, providing them with “the cross-cultural tools they need in this increasingly complex world.

“Global citizens embrace and advocate for the broadest world view and have an ideal vision of what it can be,” she said. “[They] are as ready to get on a bus, a bike, or a subway to volunteer at a soup kitchen across town as they are to step on a plane to go to Africa.”

In order to foster global citizenship and address such crises as global warming, the HIV/AIDS pandemic, and the widening wealth gap, Bellamy said college students need to learn a foreign language and study abroad.

 “The only way to grow is to get out in this world and live it, to see opportunities we didn’t see before, to find common ground,” she explained.

Bellamy, who is CEO of World Learning and president of the School of International Training, was the first woman to win citywide office in New York City. She’s also worked as a lawyer and an investment banker.

IMI’s 10th annual conference, March 12–13, featured 25 workshops on such topics as cross-cultural business negotiation and virtual cross-cultural communication.