Posted on Thursday, 23 June 2016 at 1pm
by Lifelong Learning Centre Staff.
The following is a guest post by Roland Maposa, a mature student who has just completed his first year studying full-time on our BA Professional Studies programme.
I recently submitted a two-minute video application for the University’s new flagship initiative, the Leeds to New York Student Leadership Challenge. I was successful in my application and by the time you read this will have joined a diverse group of 16 students from across the University on a seven-day visit to New York. The programme is truly unique – it offers students the opportunity to learn leadership skills and apply theoretical learning to a real societal issue presented to us by Leeds City Council. The University is working in collaboration with alumni through its Footsteps Fund, Leeds City Council and business and community leaders, as well as their delivery partner, Common Purpose, to examine the question ‘What makes a city smart?’.
The ‘smart city’ concept is a huge area of current policy thinking around the globe, informed by the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. It is a very interesting concept that will impact on city dwellers’ lives in the future (if it hasn’t already). Another key aspect of the programme is ‘cultural intelligence’, which Julia Middleton (the CEO of Common Purpose) defines as “the ability to cross borders and boundaries between different cultures and thrive in doing so”.
This not only refers to national or religious cultures, but also the culture within a workplace or learning environment. Cultural intelligence is increasingly seen as an important quality for any leader to exhibit and will therefore be a key part of our learning and acquiring leadership skills on this programme. On my Professional Studies degree we confronted such thinking in our first year module, Exploring Diversity. It will be interesting to explore and link this programme with what I have studied at Leeds.
Roland has reflected upon his experiences after returning from New York in another blog post, which can be read here.