University of San Diego Develops Future World Leaders and Hosts Hansen Summer Institute

SAN DIEGO, CA - For three weeks this summer, 22 fellows from around the world have convened at the University of San Diego to develop their leadership skills and work together for a more peaceful future at the Hansen Summer Institute. The institute’s sixth cohort, hosted by the University of San Diego School of Leadership and Education Sciences’ (SOLES), offers students a chance to build on their educational foundation. The institute runs until July 20.

While here, the fellows will take part in conflict resolution- mediation and inter-cultural management classes, learn from each other’s experiences, observe and absorb U.S. culture, and have the chance to become social entrepreneurs. Fellows will develop their own projects with local entrepreneurs at the USD Center for Peace and Commerce, with the best ideas receiving seed funding. Fellows will “learn by doing” and obtain practical skills to help them improve their respective societies.

Jenni Prisk of Prisk Communications will teach a public speaking skills for leaders class. Fellows will visit the U.S.-Mexico border with the Border Patrol, and meet with Chris Yanov, USD alumnus and director of Reality Changers, a group that promotes education as an alternative to joining gangs. Dr. Meenakshi Chakraverti, former director of the SOLES Leadership Institute, will instruct Hansen Fellows in negotiation and Dr. Ami Carpenter of USD’s Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies will train them in conflict resolution and mediation.

Islamiyat Adulkadir is a 2015 Hansen Fellow who fled Northern Nigeria in order to attend medical school in Sudan. “I am very blessed to receive a Hansen Fellowship,” Adulkadir said. “That means I must become great when I return home.”

The institute selects fewer than 2 percent of college-age applicants — this year, more than 1,150 applications were received from 115 different countries.

With a sizeable increase in applications, admission to the program has become very competitive, said Ron Bee, Managing Director of the Hansen Summer Institute. “We can’t have everybody from all 115 countries, we don’t have enough spots. So these are the folks who made it through,” Bee said. “Not only are they academically at the top of their game. But they’ve also proven that they can speak English at a fluent level. And third, they have done something in their community, or are working on something in their community, and they are coming here to learn from us about how to make [it] successful.”

The 2015 cohort comes from 17 countries: Brazil, Bosnia, Croatia, Egypt, Iraq (Kurdistan), Israel, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Liberia, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Syria, Tunisia, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Vietnam. Though coming from vastly different countries and cultures, every fellow has the same goal: They believe in a better world and each is fully invested in being an active part of the solution.

The program, which began in 2007, was created with the goal of providing a “university-based leadership experience” for young adults who want to redress the existence of conflict in the world. This year’s program brings together individuals from varying religious and cultural backgrounds, with the aim of developing an international community of students dedicated to fostering long-lasting relationships that will create a more peaceful future.

To learn more about the sixth Hansen Summer Institute, go to

About the University of San Diego

The University of San Diego sets the standard for an engaged, contemporary Catholic university where innovative Changemakers confront humanity’s urgent challenges. With more than 8,000 students from 75 countries and 44 states, USD is the youngest independent institution on the U.S. News & World Report list of top 100 universities in the United States. USD’s eight academic divisions include the College of Arts and Sciences, the School of Business, the Shiley-Marcos School of Engineering, the School of Law, the School of Leadership and Education Sciences, the Hahn School of Nursing and Health Science, the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies, and the Division of Professional and Continuing Education. USD recently concluded our successful $317M Leading Change: The Campaign for USD, which represented the most ambitious fundraising effort in the history of the university. In September 2016, USD introduced Envisioning 2024, a strategic plan that capitalizes on the university’s recent progress and aligns new strategic goals with current strengths to help shape a vision for the future as the university looks ahead to its 75th anniversary in the year 2024.


Patrick Riedling
(619) 260-4207