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K-State Today

July 28, 2015

Assistant professor oversees new video on international volunteering

Submitted by Ryan Haxton

A new video detailing leading-edge research on international volunteering and service-learning has just been released by globalsl.org, a network of universities and nongovernmental organizations advancing ethical global civic engagement and cooperative development partnerships.

Eric Hartman, assistant professor in the Staley School of Leadership Studies, is a co-founder of globalsl.org and serves as its editor. Hartman led the effort to develop the new video. The video highlights many of the issues that will be addressed at the upcoming Staley School of Leadership Studies Leading Change Institute that focuses on ethical global partnerships, learning and service.

Because it is uniquely grounded in research, the video makes a rare contribution to various controversies surrounding international volunteering and the emergence of for-profit "voluntourism" as part of the study abroad sector. It specifically highlights research-grounded advocacy efforts advanced by broad, global coalitions of child health experts and medical professionals that aim to discourage particular kinds of international volunteering because of documented harms to children and other vulnerable individuals. Additionally, the video shares insights gained from numerous and diverse researchers who have demonstrated that international volunteering and service-learning partnerships can have significant, positive outcomes.

Positive outcomes of international volunteering and service-learning are not limited to physical infrastructure. Physical outcomes – such as water systems – are important, but long-standing relationships supporting volunteering partnerships can also build trust, sense of pride within the community, and awareness about community issues and human rights norms.

Because of the recognition of the challenging leadership needs in the area of international volunteering and service-learning, the Staley School of Leadership Studies is hosting a Leading Change Institute on the theme, "Ethical Global Partnerships, Learning, and Service," from Aug. 10 – 14. Diverse participants include researchers, practitioners, administrators, and staff working from community, child protection, academic, and nonprofit perspectives.

For more information, contact Eric Hartman at ehartman@ksu.edu or 412-225-3699.