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Hansen Summer Institute: Building Leadership, International Cooperation

Wednesday’s start of the seventh Hansen Summer Institute on Leadership and International Cooperation — the fourth consecutive summer it has been hosted at the University of San Diego — continues a vision of hope that was the dream of late immigrant entrepreneur, Fred J. Hansen.

"He believed in trust and understanding among people from different countries to work toward world peace," said Tony Dimitroff, who oversees the Fred J. Hansen Foundation, at a June 29 welcome reception in the inner courtyard at USD's Mother Rosalie Hill Hall.

The program provides a unique educational experience where men and women from around the world learn from experts and each other about conflict resolution and social entrepreneurship. One of the long-term goals is to see each year's group connect with each other and continue to grow an HSI alumni base that already represents more than 140 people in 50 countries. Alumni, along with the current group, create an international community of young scholars who enhance their skill set, build friendships and learn through lectures, events, trainings with professors and field experts and much more.

Dimitroff saw exactly what he felt Hansen would like to witness — an enthusiastic group of 25 exceptionally bright young people chosen among a deep application pool from all over the world, enjoying each other’s company and mindful of the possibilities. The three-week institute runs through July 20 with weekly themes ranging from identity and diversity to identity and conflict and overcoming "us versus them."

Five of the 25 are from the United States, including Janaye Perry, a Seattle-area native and a junior-to-be sociology major and leadership minor at USD. The other U.S. students are Jonathan Keenan (New York), Julia Solano (California), Brevin Anderson (Washington) and Saadia Ahmad (Massachusetts). The 20 international participants are Anatoli Chernyaev (Armenia), Pavlo Fedykovych (Ukraine), Avdo Halilovic (Bosnia-Herzegovina), Li Chhay Loem (Cambodia), Triin Bostrov (Estonia), Basant Mohamed (Egypt), Naad-e-Ali Suleharia (Pakistan), Bertrand Momo (Cameroon), Aidai Kadyrova (Kyrgzstan), Chloe Dempsey (Australia), Nandan Sharalaya (India), Sara Suwan (Palestinian Authority), Ivan Fedor (Croatia), Beatriz Mansberger (Brazil), Yulia Khalikova (Russia), Zainab Mohammed (Iraq), Berat Kjamili (Macedonia), Nkululeko Tsoketsi (South Africa), Isabella Fuscaldo Jalkh (Colombia) and Djordje Vesic (Serbia).

The program is led by Ronald Bee, the institute's managing director, a college instructor and experienced official on world affairs and Bonnie Lamb, the institute's program coordinator. Working with Bee and Lamb this summer are associate coordinators who are both HSI alumni, Shelly Korenboim (2014) of Israel and Iraq's Hadeer Basheer (2015).

The HSI has a significant cross-section of USD representatives who are giving their time to help the group. Nick Ladany, dean of the School of Leadership and Education Sciences (SOLES), greeted everyone at the welcome reception. All students will work closely with USD alumna and Center for Peace and Commerce Assistant Director Grace Michel on social entrepreneurship and the team pitch competition at the end of the program. Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies professors Ami Carpenter and Father William Headley are respectively speaking to the group. Two leadership education experts with USD ties, Afsaneh Nahavandi and Meenakshi Chakraverti, USD alumnus Christopher Yanov, founder of the Reality Changers, and current SOLES PhD student John Hinck will also give presentations.

In addition to a professional learning environment and entrepreneurship presentations, the HSI participants will also experience cultural events, American-style, such as attending the City of Coronado's annual Fourth of July parade, going to a San Diego Padres baseball game, relaxing at the USD swimming pool and enjoying a San Diego dinner cruise. All students are staying in USD's residence halls, furthering the opportunity to bond and build a foundation of peace, just as Fred J. Hansen saw it.

— Ryan T. Blystone

Check out a 2015 Hansen Summer Institute video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E9GCZlnVwKE