ILP Participants' View

School of Arts and Sciences, B.A. in Politics Philosophy and Economics
Shumita Basu

"Just one month after arriving at Penn my freshman year, I was fortunate enough to attend the Intercultural Leadership Program's weekend retreat. Sharing this early exposure to meaningful dialogue about cultural interactions with a diverse and thoughtful group of peers impacted me greatly, and I proudly returned in the following years to act as a student leader. The program has given me a chance to develop my skills not only as a communicator but also as a facilitator of conflict and dialogue. Each year has been illuminating and different from the last; though I'll be sad to leave I gather confidence in knowing that I will carry these experiences with me for life."

School of Nursing, M.S.N. in Nursing and Healthcare Administration
David Bendell

"The Intercultural Leadership Program, one of Penn’s lesser known gems, is quietly empowering a diverse group of students to lead by example through effective cross-cultural communication. The ILP engages exceptional students in a flexible and responsive weekend of written, spoken, artistic and kinesthetic techniques to, amongst others, drill down into our pre-conceived biases and notions and build us back up as promising intercultural leaders. My social entrepreneurship group incorporated the ILP skills with their Penn education to facilitate a free teaching session on credit scores, addressing a portion of this country’s financial literacy deficit but focusing it on the Penn and International House Philadelphia populations of students. For me as a nurse, the ILP in combination with my master’s education at Penn has uniquely equipped me to go out and tackle the most complex of modern healthcare problems with strong intercultural awareness and understanding."

Graduate School of Education, M.S.Ed. in Intercultural Communication
Evan Black

"The Intercultural Leadership Program prepares Penn students to become leaders in addressing a broad range of global issues. ILP provided me with the tools, knowledge, and community to make a positive impact within the Graduate School of Education (GSE). My intercultural involvement and development ranges from starting a student organization at GSE dedicated to cultural exchange and awareness to developing programming to better support international students. After ILP, I feel more prepared academically and professionally to succeed in a globalized and interconnected world."

School of Arts and Sciences B.A. in International Relations
Ben Brockman

"The Intercultural Leadership Program was an extremely rewarding and formative experience for me both as a participant and eventually a student leader in the program. As one of the first activities I was involved in on campus, ILP opened my eyes early on to the truly global nature of Penn's campus and provided me with an early network to engage with various international and intercultural issues on campus. While the diversity of Penn's campus is an asset in and of itself,  I strongly believe that programs like ILP are necessary to take full advantage of this diversity and build strong connections across students, groups, and faculty that truly make Penn the global university that it strives to be. ILP played a large part in my decision to pursue my studies in international relations and I carry my experiences from the program with me as I have begun a career overseas."

School of Arts and Sciences, B.A. in European History
Tiffany John-Lewis

"The Intercultural Leadership Program promotes diversity by encouraging the development of a continous, multi-perspective dialogue. Through ILP conversations, students share stories of their unique cultural journeys with others while hearing about experiences both similar and distinct from their own. This simple, yet profound exchange encourages participants to grapple with the realities of diversity and cross-cultural awareness. Personally, ILP helped me understand that diversity is a privilege that needs to be cherished. ILP prepared me to be leader who was willing to promote a message of acceptance and appreciation for differences, not just tolerance. If society seeks the benefits of globalization, then we as active global citizens must willingly address the challenges that arise in the midst of diversity. ILP inspired me to rise to these challenges while never losing sight of the goal to create a more integrated and open world, one community at a time."

School of Engineering and Applied Science, Ph.D. in Bioengineering
Spencer Szczesny

"Economic and social globalization over the past several decades has made the likelihood of interacting or working with individuals from diverse cultural and ethnic backgrounds a near certainty. As an engineering student, I am routinely collaborating with international students and colleagues, and I am acutely aware of both the opportunities and challenges that are inherent to a multicultural work environment. However, without the proper exposure and training, such collaborations can easily falter due to misunderstandings and unknown expectations. The ILP directly addresses these needs by making students not only aware of these hidden challenges but also teaches them strategies for minimizing difficulties and promoting a successful intercultural exchange."