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Charlotte Amalie
Wednesday, June 12, 2024


May 20, 2003 – The 9th annual Summer Institute for Future Global Leaders on the St. Thomas campus of the University of the Virgin Islands officially got under way Tuesday morning with introductory remarks from UVI President LaVerne Ragster, Provost Gwen-Marie Moolenaar and Chancellor John Leipzig.
With a new president comes change, and this year's institute — the first under Ragster's administration — has a change of format. Instead of hours of lecture, interaction is the new game plan. "The learner will be moving the process," institute director Solomon Kabuka said.
For two weeks the students from the Caribbean, the U.S. mainland and — for the first time — Europe will participate in research and discovery workshops to facilitate growth, Kabuka said. The curriculum also includes seminars, forums and more field study trips than were previously a part of the program.
Ragster said she wanted the change because she likes the idea of the young people getting to participate in active learning. "I hope they leave here tired and happy in the head," she said.
Tired in body they well may be, too. The daily schedules have them on the go from 7 a.m. breakfast to 9:30 p.m. computer lab/study for six of the 13 days — except that this Saturday breakfast's at 6:30 a.m. Sunday's labeled "free day" but has 4-6 p.m. blocked out for computer lab/library and 7:30-9:30 p.m. for computer lab/study.
On May 29, the last day before the students present the "leadership prospectus" papers they will be creating for use as road maps to their desired goals, they're booked until midnight for computer lab/library. And on May 30, the last day before "commencement," they get to party at Little-Taj-by-the-Sea until 11 p.m.
A total of 45 students from 24 institutions of higher learning are taking part. Many have never before experienced the Caribbean.
Xavier Mancaux is getting to learn a little about the world outside of his native Belgium. "It is really a new experience meeting cultures that are different from ours," he said. A junior international business major at the University of Chaussee, Mancaux is attending the institute with a classmate at that school.
"I think it is important to know as many cultures as possible," he said. "The economy is different here than in our country."
Marcus Harris of Dillard University is from Monroe, Louisiana, and is a chemistry major. He said he wanted to take part in the institute because learning leadership skills is important in all disciplines and situations.
"Turbulent Times for Global Leaders" is the theme of this year's institute. The program has three main focuses: leadership for tomorrow, culture and communication, and the global business environment.
UVI President Emeritus Orville Kean, guest speaker for the opening session, highlighted many of the social ills affecting today's world. Among them he cited leaders' lack of attention to lessons from history, brain drain from smaller underdeveloped countries, terrorism, and questions arising from human genome genetic research.
The institute schedule includes three major workshops in preparation for a mock United Nations event. Students will argue on ideals of trade, independence and terrorism from the perspective of the countries they represent. United Nations Ambassadors Patrick Lewis of Antigua and Barbuda and Robert Millette of Grenada and Caribbean Community and European Union representatives will be present to assist students with issues and protocols.
According to retired UVI Prof. Paul Leary, who has been a Future Global Leaders presenter for four years, this year's new program initiatives are intended "to equip the students with the knowledge and skills about the elements in their environment." He said his ultimate goal is that "they will have the capacity to be successful."

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