Two weeks ago, the entire 2016-2017 CCI Program cohort, consisting of 210 students representing 13 countries, came together for the annual midyear Pathways to Success Program (PSP) which took place in Arizona from January 7th to January 13th.
The Pathways to Success Program is a week-long program “designed to build participant skills in leadership, reflection, and goal setting while developing the CCI alumni network and enjoying excursions to key U.S. historical and cultural sites.” The theme of this year’s PSP was “Leadership and You,” with a focus on how mindful leadership can effect change.
The second day of the program began with a special guest speaker, Micah Loma’omvaya from the Hopi Tribe, who shared his perspectives on the importance of the PSP’s setting: northeast Arizona. Micah discussed the state’s significance as it relates to Native American history, and helped build a sense of place for the program. The program moved on to an Intercultural Conflict Resolution Workshop conducted by Dr. Benjamin Broome, an Intercultural Professor at Arizona State University. Dr. Broome’s interactive workshop helped build leadership skills by developing student’s knowledge of intercultural communication and conflict resolution strategies. CCI students outlined how conflict both motivates and inhibits change, and developed lists of key traits for effective, peace building leaders. This process helped CCI students reflect on the efficacy of their own leadership styles.
After the first half of the day, CCI students began to implement what they had learned, starting with a student led panel on Action Planning. Throughout the year, all 210 students work on an Action Plan which they will implement upon returning to their home countries. During the panel, CCI students with advanced plans explained their projects to their fellow participants. A common theme for the Action Plans was increasing and enhancing access to education overseas through various technologies and community programs. Following the inspirational panel from their peers, the students reevaluated their Action Plan goals before beginning an intense three hour long Networking Workshop to share ideas and resources to further develop their plans. Students will continue developing their Action Plans throughout the spring semester before implementing them in their home countries as CCI alumni. Creating networks with their CCI peers during the PSP is a great way to ensure their plans have a global support system behind them.
The third day of the PSP was all about leadership and making connections. During breakout workshops that occurred throughout the day, students focused on discovering and enhancing their leadership skills. Breakout workshops included “Discovering Your Communication Style,” “The Insightful Leader,” “Collaboration for Success,” and “Understanding Your EQ.” Each group also took part in the popular “string activity,” during which students talked through how different global issues are interconnected. As a cultural excursion, students also visited Antelope Canyon to learn about local Native American history and canyon formation to continue to make connections with their environment.
Tuesday, the fourth day of the midyear program, was all about how leadership can effect change. In celebration of the 10th Anniversary of the CCI Program, and in collaboration with the National Park Service and its centennial, all 210 students and 19 CCI and State Department staff volunteered to revive a historic orchard in Glen Canyon, Lonely Dell. Under park ranger guidance, the CCI Program planted new trees in the orchard, pruned and maintained healthy trees, and worked on irrigation systems from three different time periods. This was the first time in CCI Program history that all CCI students got together for one service event, and was the largest group of volunteers that Lonely Dell had ever had!
CCI alumni from all 10 years of the program also participated in the event through the virtual #CCISeeds campaign by planting a seed in their community. Since November 2016, CCI alumni have been taking photos of their seeds and posting about how the CCI Program helped them grow as a person and professional. One of the key achievements of the CCI Program is the significant impact participants have on local communities, and the Lonely Dell service event was the perfect embodiment of the power of volunteering and service.
After three days of intense workshops and the service event, CCI participants had the chance to reflect on their year in the United States so far. After an adventure-filled raft ride down the Colorado River and around Horseshoe Bend, the sunset and sunrise hikes at the Grand Canyon and the silent reflection hike in Sedona provided a few moment for students to consider their sense of place in their environment, and in the world at large, as leaders and agents of change. The final evening in Sedona was all about celebrating achievements. During a final student panel about how to maximize the CCI experience for the 2017 spring semester, students gave testimonials about how they made the most of their first semester in the CCI Program. The night ended with an awards ceremony, which recognized achievements in academics, action planning, and living program values.
Before leaving Arizona on Friday, CCI students gathered at Mesa Community College, one of the CCI Program host colleges, to hear special guest speaker Judge Diane Humetewa, a U.S. District Judge of the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona. As an enrolled member of the Hopi Nation, she shared her inspiring journey to become a U.S. District Judge. Judge Humetewa’s closing remarks for the PSP tied together all the themes of the 2017 Pathways to Success Program as she highlighted the significance of the PSP’s setting in Arizona, the importance of diverse leadership, and the impact of connecting with your community.
The 2017 Pathways to Success Program was a platform to reflect, refocus, and re-energize for the spring semester. The impression that the PSP left on the local community in Lees Ferry and on the 2016-2017 CCI Program participants was unforgettable, and a great way start to the New Year!