GESI recognized for commitment to diversity

Shane McKeon, Assistant Campus Editor

Northwestern’s Global Engagement Studies Institute received an award for its commitment to diversity from a group that advocates for increased minority-student involvement in international education.

The Diversity Abroad Network recognized GESI with its Institutional Excellence in Diversifying International Education Award.

Political science Prof. Brian Hanson, GESI’s director, said having a diversity of experience is crucial in a program like this.

“The timing is significant because it comes as most schools are grappling with the best way to get underrepresented students involved in study abroad programs,” Hanson said in a news release. “The solutions to today’s most pressing global challenges require the innovation and creativity that emerges from collaboration between people with different skills, perspectives and experiences.”

During GESI, students study abroad while collaborating with local organizations that work on issues such as women’s empowerment and public health. The program sends students to Bolivia, India and Kenya, among other countries.

GESI emphasizes service and community development.

“Over 90 percent of students involved cite the experience as the pinnacle of their learning as well as their most defining, formative experience in college,” Hanson said in the release. “The students also say it has direct implications on their plans throughout and after college, including internships, fellowships, grants, job opportunities and other international experiences.”

The news follows Roberta Buffett Elliott’s $100-million donation that was announced in January, a gift the University will use to expand programming and scholarships for international students.

“True diversity is more than differences in individual background, personal identities, intellectual approaches and demographics,” University President Morton Schapiro said in the release. “It also means removing barriers and creating space that allow individuals to fully engage in university life.”

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