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How to develop a successful Dialogue of Civilizations program

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Earlier this month, News @ Northeastern featured Dr. Lori Gardinier, Director and Teaching Professor within the Human Services Program, in an article detailing the process of developing a successful Dialogue of Civilizations Program. Jason Kornwitz, News @ NU contributor, writes:

It’s not uncommon for Lori Gardinier spend more than a year preparing to lead a month long Dialogue of Civilizations program. In fact, it’s the norm for the Director of the Human Services Program, who’s been running dialogues to countries like Mexico, Costa Rica, and Nicaragua for over a decade.

Gardinier is currently in Zambia, overseeing a dozen students on a service-learning-based dialogue in which they will work to create and implement capacity-building initiatives at five local nongovernmental organizations.

Her preparation ran the gamut, from planning lectures and connecting with NGOs to arranging housing and conducting pre-trip site visits. Much of the legwork was done over email and Skype with the help of one of her former students, who served as her teaching assistant on a dialogue to Mexico before embarking on a career in public health in Zambia.

Gardinier faced many challenges along the way, not the least of which, she said, was adapting to Zambia’s slow pace of day-to-day life at a time when she had to make plans for the weeks and months ahead. But the payoff, for both the teacher and her pupils, has been well worth the effort.“Running a dialogue gives me the opportunity to develop the kind of rapport with students that’s impossible in the classroom,” Gardinier said in a Skype interview from London, where she was overseeing the final days of another dialogue in which students worked at a nonprofit or social service organization for 20 hours per week. “When students go abroad,” she explained, “they’re pushed out of their comfort zones and their capacity to learn from their experiences is so much more intensified.”

To read more, click here.

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