“I learned that if I don’t like the way something is or if I don’t agree with it, I need to take the initiative to change it. I shouldn’t back away from problems, but face them head on.” -Shanyne Douglas (GSU Senior)
On March 11th and 12th, Global Peace Youth at Georgia State University participated in a two-day workshop to explore moral and innovative leadership on their campus and beyond. As GPY-USA’s longest running campus chapter, GSU includes President Brandon Carter who was highlighted in GPY-USA’s December 2015 edition of Featured Leaders.
Brandon welcomed GSU GPY members to the workshop saying, “It’s really important for the students at Georgia State to have this leadership opportunity because everyone is capable of being a good leader, everyone has that potential in them. Stick to your morals and be passionate about what you want to do. Keep your character strong.” After completing a quick personality test, GSU students laughed and explained the accuracy of the test’s assessment of their strengths and weaknesses. By sharing and listening to their teammates’ strengths and points they need support with, the GSU team not only learned more about themselves, but also realized how much more they could accomplish together by acknowledging their differences, not hiding them. Freshman member, Gloria Guzman, said, “The personality test highlighted a few of my weaknesses which helps me as a leader to know what I need to work on. It also magnified that several individuals have weaknesses that overlap and as a leader, I can help members of my team deal with them while doing the same.”
With presentations by GPY-USA representatives and guest speaker, Dr. Paul Murray, GSU students had the opportunity to explore Global Peace Foundation’s work at home and abroad and their role in the vision of One Family under God. Shanyne Douglas, an outgoing senior, shared how inspired she was by speaker Dr. Murray saying, “I learned that if I don’t like the way something is or if I don’t agree with it, I need to take the initiative to change it. I shouldn’t back away from problems, but face them head on.”
“The key to changing the world is what we call moral and innovative leadership,” Dr. Murray explained, “There are many organizations out there that do great work but when the work is done, the people have not changed from the inside. What makes the Global Peace Foundation so unique is that everything we work on must be built on a foundation of morals, values, and principles… we cannot change with the wind.” With a message of hope in the next generation, Dr. Murray continued to emphasize the importance of the leadership role GSU GPY members have in the real world asking them, “When you look at where you are going, how do you apply what you learned as a leader into what you are going to do no matter what field it is? Everywhere you go, you will find problems. If there is an issue, instead of marching against it, think how can you change people’s mindset. I want to challenge you to think, ‘How can I make a difference?’ As GPY you must have a passion to change the world.”
Catherine Moxie told her fellow GPY leaders she learned the value of taking ownership over her environment and circumstances saying, “I can ask, ‘What is missing to make this situation work?’ rather than ‘Why can’t this be fixed?’ This will help me develop as a leader because I can try to adjust myself rather than just give up.”
The second day of GSU’s leadership workshop included a 7-mile hike in northern Georgia at the beautiful Panther Creek Falls. GSU Panther (Yes, that is their mascot) Gloria expressed her gratitude for her GPY teammates saying that although she only met some of them on the first day of the workshop, she felt like family by the end. She saw how the vision of one family under God was really noticeable in nature, saying, “When we are able to treat each other as family, we might have to be a little vulnerable but because we genuinely care for each other we pull each other towards a common goal and accomplish it together.”
As each GPY member took turns leading the hike, Brandon noticed that each person had a different way to take on the trail, “Some people took the high road and others took the low trail. It just goes to show that people are different with different styles even in leadership. But we all are trying to get to the waterfall, the same goal. So why not help each other get there?”