An innovative new program providing students with the opportunity to build global leadership and intercultural skills will be launched today by the University of Newcastle.
The International Leadership Experience and Development Program, or iLEAD, will promote awareness and understanding of global issues, intercultural communication and cross-cultural environments.
Deputy Vice-Chancellor (International) Professor Bill Purcell said iLEAD was a combination of academic learning and practical experience.
"iLEAD provides a structure around which students can develop their leadership skills and their ability to think critically about issues in a global context," Professor Purcell said.
"The program involves an academic component where students develop their skills through a seminar and lecture program focussing on international relations, business and development.
"The practical component can be one of any number of experiences such as a summer school program at Oxford University, teaching English in Central America or working on a community project in Australia or abroad."
The iLEAD program features three themes: leadership in an international context; international awareness; and community, integration and diversity. Students are required to gain 100 'points' worth of experience to complete the program.
"After students register and attend an induction seminar, they are required to complete three skill-building seminars that cover, for example, global citizenship and social responsibility or cross-cultural project management," Professor Purcell said.
"They then move onto the experiential part of the program where they gain points by going on exchange, volunteering, or intensive study programs overseas or in Australia.
"On completion, students will have gained invaluable experience and new skills in the areas of leadership and international affairs."
Working on a conservation project in Borneo, teaching sport to HIV-affected communities in Africa or undertaking an internship in Washington DC are just some of the opportunities available to students as part of the program.
Students will also have the opportunity to speak face-to-face with leaders who are internationally renowned in their field at lectures across the course of the program.
iLEAD will be formally launched at a function tonight at Newcastle City Hall. Mr John Anderson - the founder of Contiki Holidays - will be the guest speaker. The event will get underway at 6pm.