Intercultural Leadership Initiative (ILI): Celebrating our graduates
We’re honored to celebrate the graduates of the Intercultural Leadership Initiative (ILI) at International House, UC Berkeley. These 14 students embarked on a 12-week intensive experiential learning course developing skills to become effective global leaders. Through simulations and exercises, coaching with intercultural tools, weekly reflections, and off-campus excursions in unfamiliar and largely stereotyped communities like the Tenderloin district of San Francisco, these students were trained to see difference as opportunity and resource, to recognize privilege and larger systems of oppression, and to develop allyship for underrepresented groups.
The facilitator used the Global Competencies Inventory (GCI), a tool for measuring how effectively one can lead in an intercultural context, to assess the students’ global leadership competency development before and after the program. Students were offered one-on-one coaching sessions using this tool at the beginning of the program. Then, throughout the semester, training sessions were tailored to specific GCI competencies. Pre- and post- GCI scores indicated significant development across all competencies, such as tolerance of ambiguity, emotional resilience, non-judgementalness, interpersonal engagement, stress-management and many others.
While the ILI program is just the start of many leadership opportunities for these students, this 12-week experience has allowed each of them to learn, explore and develop skills to apply in their future endeavors. Lauren Moloney-Egnatios, facilitator of the ILI program, writes in her commencement speech: “As we see in the newspaper every day, many parts of the world are polarized. We have seen and perhaps experienced how easy it is to blame, ignore, criticize, and even violently attack ‘the other,’ whoever that might be. The students before you voluntarily chose to take revolutionary action against this very human response to difference; they committed to doing what is much more challenging in the face of perceived threat—to look within for solutions, consciously choosing appreciation and empathy over fear and suspicion. They can recognize themselves in the perceived enemy and find wholeness by bridging to the other.”