Northwestern University in Qatar (NU-Q) is developing the leadership potential of its students with a four-day Leadership Retreat being held in Tunisia over Eid al-Fitr.
Fourteen NU-Q first and second year students accompanied by three staff members will take part in the retreat from 26 to 30 November in Tunis.
The Retreat, which is a mix of leadership development workshops and cultural immersion, is designed to equip the students with the necessary skills to become leaders within their educational community and in the wider society. Based on experiential learning, the trip supports the aims of NU-Q to develop the full potential of its students and enable them to find their own voice.
Rebecca Donaldson, Student Affairs Specialist at NU-Q, commented: “We want students to think about the ways their campus can be improved and built upon. We are constantly pushing ourselves to make the NU-Q and Education City campuses even better. This is about how the students can have an impact. We are hoping this will be an opportunity to empower and equip them to take charge of not only their university experience but also their life”.
As part of the leadership development initiative, the students will learn how to write a proposal for an idea they have to improve their campus. “The students will be taught how to interact with others in a group and utilize the strength of others. Leadership is not just about the position you hold but about how you get the best work out of others,” said Ms. Donaldson.
Tunisia serves as an appropriate setting for the retreat with its unique history of Arab, Spanish, and Turkish influence. Students will learn about different cultures, and develop an understanding of how specific leaders have affected and shaped their society. During the retreat, the students will also visit historical sites such as Carthage, Bardo Museum, Sidi Bou Said and the Medina of Tunis (a UNESCO world heritage site).
Second year Communication student Florent D’Souza explained the importance of the retreat. "Northwestern University in Qatar provides us with several opportunities to enhance and develop our leadership skills. This is one such initiative. The Student Affairs department works extra hard in constructing and leading workshops like these. NU-Q takes a special interest in cultivating the student leaders who are active in the community, and at the same time fish-out new leaders among the student body. This is all in the interest of NU-Q's overall vision to train and develop the leaders of tomorrow,” he said.
Benazir Karim, a first-year Journalism student participating in the retreat, commented on the opportunity: “NU-Q is an active and student-friendly university. There are always new opportunities being offered to us. We are being nurtured in an environment that not only prepares us to excel within our fields of study but also prepares us as individuals aspiring to become successful in the real world”.
“We live in a competitive world where almost everyone wants to become a leader, so I want to be one of those good leaders who will help others find their way,” added Ola Deyab, a first-year Journalism student at NU-Q.
The Tunisia Leadership Retreat is the first of many international trips designed to use the cultural immersion experience as an opportunity to focus on leadership. In addition, as part of its wider leadership objectives, NU-Q plans to introduce tailored leadership classes in the future.
On January 19, 2010, the students will present their experiences from the retreat to an audience of NU-Q students, teachers, and staff.
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