York in the World: Emerging Global Leaders Program marks 10th anniversary

This year marks the 10th anniversary of York International’s award-winning Emerging Global Leaders Program (EGLP). 

On Jan. 23 and 24, the first event of the program’s landmark year took place in Barrie, Ont. The event was a two-day workshop for 50 full-time Canadian, international and exchange undergraduate students from all of York’s faculties. For the first time, the program also hosted a delegation of students from Barbados.

Above: Students who participated in the January 2010 Emerging Global Leaders Program workshop in Barrie, Ont.

The EGLP began in the 1999-2000 academic year and has since expanded from one event to four leadership workshops. It is offered in Canada and in the Caribbean nations of Barbados and St. Kitts and now boasts more than 1,200 alumni from 80 countries. In 2002, it won the Outstanding Program Award from the Canadian Bureau of International Education recognizing high-quality creative programming in international education.

The EGLP presents an opportunity for students to explore key concepts and challenges of leadership in Canadian and international contexts, with a special focus on cross-cultural communication and team building. "Students gain an understanding of the most important concepts in goal setting and success, and reflect on their strengths and areas for growth. Self-reflection, empowerment and action are all expected outcomes of participation," said Craig T. Wright, York International’s coordinator of International Student Programs.

Each year, recognized leaders in different areas of the public and private sectors engage with the participants during interactive sessions and workshops on the changing contexts, concepts and challenges of leadership in a global world. Notable past presenters have included former Ontario premier Bob Rae, Giller Prize-winning writer Austin Clarke, former chair of the Committee on Women in the NATO Forces Colonel Cheryl D. Lamerson, CTV and CBC broadcaster Jim Reed, the consuls general for Spain and for Barbados, York President Emerita Lorna Marsden, and Rodney Grant, the executive director of Pinelands Creative Workshop in Barbados.

Right: Rodney Grant leads students in an activity during one of the January 2010 EGLP workshops

Applications to the program open every fall. York students interested in participating next year should keep an eye out for program advertisements around campus and on the York International Web site, or sign up to the York International Facebook and Twitter sites. Participation in the EGLP is free and is funded by the Office of the Associate Vice-President International.

"Great program! It opened up my mind to new opportunities and new cultures," read one of the EGLP’s anonymous feedback forms, exemplifying the sentiments of so many of the students at EGLP events over the past decade.

Submitted by Edward Fenner and Charmaine Bene, York International