- Levar Smith, Ph.D.
- Preparing Students for Cultural Differences Here and Abroad
- Assistant Professor, Morehouse College
- Dr. Levar Smith is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at Morehouse College. His research interests include state development, international political economy, and democratization in Sub-Saharan Africa. A 2002 Graduate of Morehouse College, he also has an M.S degree from the Sam Nunn School at Georgia Tech, and an MA in Political Science from Miami University. Before coming to academia he spent time working in Banking, CARE International and the Council of Foreign Relations.
Preparing Students for Cultural Differences Here and Abroad (Co-Presented with Dr. Mo Baptiste)
It is often the case that students approach the study abroad or service learning programs and opportunities with little understanding of the political, economic, cultural, and social dynamics in their respective countries. In many cases, the willingness of students to engage in a culturally transformative experience which lends them open to change is mystified by western conceptualizations of local customs, practices, and behaviors—which creates a “white man’s burden” type of approach to service learning. Utilizing data from volunteer experience in Haiti and South Africa, this presentation aims to draw attention to the importance of service learning education which encourages student participation and cultural openness by teaching educators and students the power of critical engagement while living and working abroad.