New International Speakers Bureau Shares Global Perspectives
Colby-Sawyer prides itself on the growing diversity of its student body, a population that each year becomes a more complete reflection of the international community. With their global perspectives, international students bring the world to our New London, N.H., campus.
In an effort to share the wealth of ideas and cultural experiences that these students offer, then-Director of International Student Services and Humanities instructor David Elliott and Anurup Upadhyay '15 established the college's International Speakers Bureau (ISB) in late 2011.
In conceptualizing the bureau, Elliott, who retired from the college this spring, recalled a time when students visited local schools to share stories about their countries and cultures. He wanted to revive the tradition.
Following a year of development, the ISB is ready to connect the college's international student body with the surrounding communities through speaking engagements hosted by interested organizations at no charge.
The ISB currently comprises 19 students who represent a dozen countries, and several more plan to become members. The ISB website will connect students with the community. It provides profiles and images of the speakers, background on their home countries, and surveys for potential hosts and volunteers.
Any school, business, club or organization in the Lake Sunapee area, including those within Colby-Sawyer, may invite a speaker or group of speakers. In developing the invitation process, Upadhyay, a native of Nepal, has sought to create a customizable experience for the hosts and the speakers, allowing both parties to outline their expectations and topics of interest.
Elliott believes any organization could use the bureau's resources. Whether the conversation revolves around politics, literature or food, these students will bring new insight to the discussion.
On the anticipated significance of the ISB, Elliott says that to ignore the increasingly diverse world in which we live limits us both professionally and socially, so we're trying to bring the larger world to our part of New Hampshire.
Upadhyay believes New London will be the perfect venue for this endeavor. It's a small and homogeneous community, he explains. There's not much diversity, and that is why we wanted to start this. I find the New London community really inviting. They want to know more about us, and I expect the Speakers Bureau to get a lot of invitations.
While providing the community with the gift of multiculturalism, the ISB will also benefit the students who volunteer to speak. The bureau gives them the opportunity to practice their communication skills, says Elliott, by standing up in front of a group and speaking about things that are important to them.
Visit www.colby-sawyer.edu/speakers to learn more.
-by David Hart '13