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Global Village creates international network of young leaders

Prateik Pothuneedi of India, Fatma Al- Baiti of Yemen, and Fatma Alshowab of the United Arab Emirates will participate in the six week program, which this year brings together students from 52 countries.

For six weeks every summer, Lehigh’s campus transforms into a microcosm of the world at large, thanks to the Global Village for Future Leaders of Business and Industry program, which began this week.

The buzz of foreign languages and a flurry of warm introductions accompanied the international participants at the program’s opening Tuesday night dinner at Lehigh’s Iacocca Hall.

This year, 101 students and young professionals will spend the six weeks immersed in a leadership and cross-cultural training program that will help prepare them to work in a globalized society. The participants, or interns, arrived in the United States after traveling the globe from 52 countries—with many visiting the U.S. for their first time.

Patrick V. Farrell, provost and vice president for academic affairs, greeted the interns, noting that the Global Village’s objectives are closely aligned with Lehigh’s mission to develop human capital and graduate students who utilize their skills for the greater good.

“Develop the talents you have so you all can make a difference on the issues that face us all,” he advised. “The biggest treasure you’ll take away is what you learn from each other.”

Lee Iacocca ’45, the former president of Chrysler Corp., established the program in 1997 with the aim of uniting diverse students and sharing distinct experiences from around the world. Now, 15 years later, the program has provided such an opportunity for 1,400 people in 125 countries. This year, three new countries join that list—El Salvador, Algeria and Sudan. Global Village alumni have forged life-long bonds, maintaining a true global network of close friends and business partners.

"I am very excited to see how the Global Village Program has developed over these 15 years,” said Richard Brandt, director of Lehigh’s Iacocca Institute, which runs the Global Village program. “In a recent conversation I had with Lee Iacocca, he told me he is so pleased that we are well on our way to creating a global network of young leaders that will change the world."

The opening dinner provided a means for the interns to spend time with one another, and to meet many of the people who influence the program every year, including program alumni who have returned as program guides who will help them make the most out of this unique opportunity.

During their time at Lehigh, the interns will attend lectures and courses, take business trips, and participate in consulting projects and cultural experiences. Many of these experiences will expose them to business and community leaders, entrepreneurs, and government officials eager to share their knowledge and expertise.

Community and cultural experiences and plenty of fun balance the rigorous curriculum program. Cultural nights give interns the chance to share the foods and traditions unique to their home country and demonstrate how essential business, cultural and international understanding is in the world. Other activities include a community service program with the children in the Miracle League and a trip to an Iron Pigs baseball game. The interns will also visit New York City and Washington, DC.

Story by Tricia Long

Posted on Thursday, June 30, 2011

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