Support SEGL, Fall 2011

Dear Friends of SEGL:

How do we measure success at SEGL? How do we know that we are shaping ethically strong, internationally aware leaders each semester in DC?

Sometimes we measure success by our students’ accomplishments. This semester, our students wrote a policy document on U.S. policy toward Burma, and presented their recommendations to Ambassador Derek Mitchell, U.S. Special Envoy to Burma, at the State Department. (Read the accompanying blog post here.) And this semester several of our graduates have launched fantastic venture projects in their local communities. (For example, click herehere, and here.)

And sometimes we measure success in our students’ stories: stories of new insights—learned in DC—that provoke positive action. Fall 2011 student Jenny Kenyon sent me one of these stories recently:

…I spent Friday setting up personal meetings at the FBI, State Department, and Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. That night we played Ultimate Frisbee on the Mall. Everything was picture perfect as we walked back to the dorms past the majestic Capitol building. The air was brisk, the stars were out, Noah was leading us in a song, and I was dancing…until we came to the Supreme Court building,  the beautiful reminder of equality in America that I see out my dorm room window each morning. Then it happened. A taxi driver nearly hit an older man who was jaywalking, and the older man freaked out. He walked over, kicked the taxicab’s front bumper, and screamed, “You f—ing immigrant! No one wants you here! What country are you from? Go back, you f—ing immigrant! You don’t belong here!” As men and women in their business suits walked by and ignored the situation, the poor man driving the taxicab was left receiving these horrible slurs. We were all silent…our joyous tone was immediately crushed and our eyes followed our feet the whole way home. Our minds were racing. What if that taxi driver was a Rwandan genocide refugee? What if he was a Libyan immigrant escaping Gadhafi’s repressive regime? What if he was a Sudanese child soldier who came to the U.S. to make a better life for himself? After everything that I’ve learned this semester, it makes me so incredibly upset that so many Americans have such limited understanding/education/ respect for others…but at the same time, it internally confirmed my social venture project: when I return home, I’m creating a group called Global Understanding. This organization will lead dialogues for young teens at churches, mosques, and temples in hopes that through education, arrogance and misunderstanding like I saw that night will disappear.

This past Saturday, Jenny and 20 of her SEGL classmates completed their semester in DC. (Click here to read about our final three weeks together and see photos from our graduation ceremony.)

This is an exciting time to be part of the SEGL community. Past supporters have allowed us to secure outstanding housing, recruit strong teachers, and provide substantial financial aid. Our goals in the next five years include growing our financial aid budget by 25%, renovating our academic building, improving our residential facilities, designing and teaching an online version of our Ethics and Leadership course, and building a modest endowment. Each of these goals requires the ongoing generosity of supporters like you.

Please consider a gift to SEGL this holiday season. Click here or send a check to 1528 18th St. NW Washington, DC 20036 to donate.


Noah Bopp

Founder and Director