Kennesaw State’s newest “global citizens”

Natalie Conley

 Gian Delpethado, with, from left, Barry Morris, Dawyn Dumas and Sandra Bryan of Bagwell College

 Barry Morris congratulates Carlos Anliker

 18 receive coveted Global Engagement Certification

 What Natalie Coley, an English education major, remembers most about her ground-breaking student teaching assignment in Uganda was the graciousness of the children.

“On my first day there, a one-year-old child knelt down on the ground and took my hand to greet me,” said Coley, one of the first three Kennesaw State students to teach in the East African nation.  “I was blown away; this was not unusual, it is their custom and what they are taught from the very beginning.”

The experience in Uganda had such an impact on Coley, a spring 2013 graduate, that she has accepted a teaching position at the Galaxy International School in Kampala this fall.

Coley was among 18 students receiving a Global Engagement Certification in May.  Now in its fourth year, the program continues to achieve milestones in recognizing students’ accomplishments in the international arena. The program provides students a credential that recognizes their classroom and experiential learning, as well as their attainment of global perspectives, intercultural skills and global citizenship.  To date, 210 students have received “general certification” or “certification with distinction.”

In addition to new destinations and experiences recognized this year, the program also awarded two certifications with distinction to international students fluent in multiple languages and with far-reaching international exposure and extensive service learning experiences abroad.

Gian Dalpethado, integrative studies major who came to Kennesaw State from Sri Lanka in 2009 on an Ambassadorial Scholarship, was awarded a Global Engagement certification with distinction.  As part of the qualification for that level of certification, he is fluent in English and his native Sinhalese, Tamil and French, and has had experiences in England, Cyprus, Dubai, South Korea and China, in addition to the U.S. and Sri Lanka. While at Kennesaw state, he served as president of the International Students Association and was part of the Model United Nations team that went to China for the Asian Model United Nations competition.

“Before I came to Kennesaw State I’d never been away from my family (in Sri Lanka),” said Dalpethado.  “After being here and having the opportunity to study abroad, I know that I can go anywhere.  I feel that I can not only be an ambassador for my country here, but also be an ambassador of the U.S. when I go back home.”

Carlos Anliker, an international business major from El Salvador, also received the certification with distinction.  He has studied abroad for four years, spending time in Guatemala, Honduras, Costa Rica, Mexico, Bahamas, Canada, Norway and Germany.  He was elected to represent El Salvador at an international summer camp in Toronto, Canada last summer.  He says he relishes every opportunity to interact with people of different cultures, including his volunteer service with the International Student Association on campus.

“Here in the USA, it’s very interesting that in each class you find people from a lot of different cultural backgrounds that enhance the learning experience,” Anliker said.  “Back in my country, El Salvador, that would not be the case. Learning in my second language has improved my language skills and I have become truly a bilingual person.”

The students who are gaining global certification will find themselves advantaged in the marketplace, Barry Morris, vice provost for strategic initiatives, said during a ceremony in their honor.

“As educators, we know what it takes to achieve competence, “Morris said, acknowledging the extensive work those receiving the certification have done to meet the requirements.  “Not only will you be making a living but you will make a life — one that will be richer because of what you have achieved.”

To view a list of the 17 students who were awarded the Global Engagement Certification in May and learn more about the program, please visit http://www.kennesaw.edu/globalengagement/.  

-- Sabbaye McGriff