A Leadership Program for Duke Students with A Global Mindset

Author: Ezra Melaku

Lento, Suave 

“Lento Lento Lento Lento


Suave Suave Suave Suave

Lentico …”


Las últimas palabras de Mario Puglia’s canción Eucalipto. Este palabras están en mi cabeza mientras me preparo para reunirme con mis amigos en la terraza afuera. Me dirijo a la mesa con esta canción, me recuerda la vida que dejé atrás y de lo que me ha enseñado España. Por un lado, hay una vida donde siento que siempre estoy corriendo. Por el otro lado, hay una nueva vida que es más tranquila y siento como estoy en el momento. Lo puedo ver cuando miro la forma en que la gente se viste y lo veo especialmente en la forma en que se prepara la comida. Hay un aprecio por tomar las cosas con calma aquí en Madrid.


Por supuesto, las bebidas se piden primero y entonces pedimos una jarra de sangría. La sangría, una mezcla muy deliciosa de vino, trozos de fruta, gaseosa, algún licor y azúcar, es un poco turístico pero todavía elegimos sobre la cerveza que es más común. Próximo, la comida. Patatas Bravas, tortillas españolas, croquetas, etc. la lista nunca termina. Cada plato es más rico que el plato anterior. Además, la comida es suave en tu estómago y no haces un colchón con las tapas. Puedes probar todo con gusto. Pero la noche no termina con comida. Terminó con conversaciones, bromas y nuevos recuerdos.


Das un paso

Pero luego

Te arrepientes

Vas tan rápido

Que olvidas

El presente”

La comida es lo que nos une, pero son estos momentos lentos y suaves los que nos mantienen unidos. Como dicen este palabras, cuando estoy en Madrid no quiero ir tan rápido. Quiero estar en cada momento presente.

Imagen 1: Esta foto es la comida nos pedimos y la describí en este blog.

Imagen 2: Esta foto es una Sprite, Sangría Blanca, Sangría, y Tinto de Verano que tiene un bonito patrón cuando se alinea.

Imagen 3: Esta foto es sobre de un plato (Empanadas: una de carne de res y una de queso; ¡Un Mango También!) que comí cuando estuve en mi casa. Sabía que hable sobre de comiendo afuera, pero la idea es muy similar en las casa. Con mi madre de Madrid y sus hijas, compartimos historias a la mesa y hablamos por mucho tiempo.

Imagen 1

Imagen 2

Imagen 3

Un abrazo,


Final Journal – Thank You Global Fellows Program

This has been a memorable year filled with exquisite experiences that the Global Fellows Program has helped shape. I know that moving forward I will walk away with tangible skills and a stronger understanding of myself and the path that I am on. Events such as the International Development Panel, Spanish Conversation Club, and monthly leadership training have helped me continuously improve throughout the academic year. I’ve improved my professional skills and network, strengthened my proficiency in Spanish, and developed my leadership skills. This has all been highly applicable, as I lead a team of Duke students through a construction project within Bolivia this summer. All of these skills have prepared me for this journey ahead and I’m truly grateful for all that this program has given me.

Journal #4

The eight NACE Competencies for a Career-Ready Workforce goes as follows: Career and self development, communication, critical thinking, equity and Inclusion, Leadership, Professionalism, Teamwork, and Technology. Through the Global Fellows program, not only have I improved within these NACE competencies, but also how to communicate the skills I have gained. The following accomplishments statements represent this:
– Fostered community through a Global Trivia night attended by over 40 International students and their families resulting in a 90% satisfaction rate and 90% return rate.
– Communicated in Spanish 3 hours weekly at Spanish Conversation Club with native Spanish speakers from Peru, Colombia, Mexico, and Spain strengthening personal confidence and fluency in the language
– Partnered with an International Language partner in weekly cultural exchanges that supported them in acclimating to Duke and United States while forming a lasting relationship

Language Track Reflection

We started this month’s training by intricately folding an Origami Masu box, but only through the verbal instructions from a partner. Well supposedly, I was moves shy from holding a beautifully made paper masterpiece before the time ran out. This task was intended to reflect the different skill sets required to lead and further strengthen our understanding of leadership. Communication was quickly identified as an essential component, but as I attended the following weeks training regarding Global leadership I began to think about how communication and other skills translate from a local to global scale. 


This is highly relevant to my studies as I pursue a Certificate in Global Development, where leadership extends beyond borders in hopes to achieve a mutual goal. I believe practice and understanding have played crucial roles in helping me transition into becoming a global leader.  For example, by working with Duke Engineers for International Development, I’m exposed to different leadership techniques, standards for communication, and more all within a safe space that facilitates growth through hands-on experiences. However, the journey to becoming a global leader doesn’t end here. I plan on looking deeper into the intricate folds of language and communication, that like origami, offers the opportunity to create something beautiful.

Leadership Track – Intercultural Reflection

This past semester, the leadership track of the Global Fellows program has reinforced the iterative nature of intercultural reflection. At the start of this academic school year, I focused on two primary goals – self improvement and community impact. This reflection addresses the work I’ve done and how I’ve achieved these goals. 


Community Impact: 

Unpredictable is merely one of the many adjectives describing the events that took place during each program. During our first event, we not only caught the attention of over 40 attendees, but also a bird that temporarily joined our company before being rescued and released. This event brought together students of a diverse background over a shared meal and intense competition of trivia. The smiles I saw that night were plentiful and the relationships I saw form were heartwarming. We also sponsored a movie night to once again strengthen the community within the international/graduate student demographic. This was accomplished as a team effort that allowed the distributed load of responsibilities to be evenly dispersed throughout each member. 

Self Improvement:

As much fun as it was organizing and taking part in the community events over the semester, I believe the leadership development training was just as impactful. Our mentors, Ling and Hal provided us with insightful resources and facilitated healthy conversations that allowed for growth. These skills were highly applicable as I was able to bring our conversations into new settings including clubs. Duke Engineers for International Development and my role as a Project manager is a prime example of this. Many ethical questions regarding the nature of foreign aid often come to play when considering the impact of our projects on a community. However, I was equipped with training sessions ideas and potential discussion questions after each Global Fellows meeting that prepared me to facilitate a safe and informative space. I believe this two step process of learning and applying strengthened my own understanding and reflected the self improvement I achieved over the semester. 

Overall, I want to express my gratitude towards Ling, Hal, and everyone who contributed to this program. I’m excited to continue on the Language Track and for what this semester has in store.

Intercultural Journal #1

Reflecting on my experiences with cultural communities in the past has shown me how closely this journey has mirrored developing film. A process that starts off in the dark, but begins to evolve sheets of film into captured moments. Moments that with hindsight offer clarity to my understanding and the necessary modifications to my perspective. Moments of my childhood could be found in an Ethiopian household, during a time where my cultural identity was reinforced by my parents and Ethiopian community. Soon after leaving home for boarding school, my lens dilated, offering exposure to cultures stretching throughout North Carolina and beyond. Now at Duke, it’s truly been exciting engaging in conversations that flow between languages of academics, culture, and more.

As I continue to develop my intercultural competence I hope to focus on two overarching themes- Self Improvement alongside Community Impact. My steps towards improving myself align with advice based of my IDI (Intercultural Development Inventory) report. Through an intercultural journal, I hope to continue to reflect on past experiences along with future means of engagement with an adaptive mindset. I am also aiming for a high community impact which can be measured through the significance and scale of the project. The successful implementation of community events hosted on campus for both domestic and international students would be a sign of achieving this. I also look forward to being paired with a language partner and finding a new perspective through our encounters.

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