LAWRENCE — A group of 19 women from six countries in the Middle East, North Africa and Asia are spending four weeks at the University of Kansas for a leadership program funded by the U.S. State Department.
This is the fourth consecutive year that KU has hosted the Study of the U.S. Institutes: Women’s Civic Leadership from the Heartland. Participants this year come from Afghanistan, Egypt, India, Mongolia, Morocco and Pakistan. Mary Banwart, associate professor of communication studies and coordinator of the leadership studies minor, founded and serves as the academic director for the institute at KU. Becky Eason, associate director of the Center for Public Partnerships and Research, is the administrative director for the institute.
During their visit, which runs through July 19, the women will learn about leadership and the culture of the United States through experiences inside and outside the classroom.
They will participate in discussions on leadership with KU faculty and staff, and female professionals in a variety of fields. Throughout the program, each participant will develop a project through which she will address a challenge in her home country that warrants stronger leadership practices. KU students also staff the program, collaborating with the participants on exercises and acting as guides to navigate campus and the city.
During their stay, the institute participants will also visit events and sites in Lawrence and around the state. The program culminates in a weeklong trip to Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.
The Women’s Leadership Institute is an academic exchange that is supported through the State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Other programs supported by the bureau include the Fulbright Program and the International Visitor Leadership Program. The goal of the programs overseen by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs is to increase mutual understanding between the United States and other countries.
The program is supported at KU by the Department of Communication Studies and the Center for Public Partnerships and Research, and draws from the expertise of departments such as the University Career Center, the Applied English Center and International Programs.
The Department of Communication Studies is part of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, which encourages learning without boundaries in its more than 50 departments, programs and centers. Through innovative research and teaching, the College emphasizes interdisciplinary education, global awareness and experiential learning. The College is KU's broadest, most diverse academic unit.