Davina Shareese Adderley
5th April, 2015
PAM: International Student Leadership Conference James Madison University, March 27th & 28th.
This year’s International Student Leadership Conference (ISLC) focused on Ethical Decision Making. Throughout the course of this program, we were able to put our ethical reasoning into action while looking at case studies based on poverty and hunger in Kenya and other developing nations. Each student was placed into a ‘family’ and was able to work collaboratively with other student leaders from different schools and cultural backgrounds on developing possible solutions to issues of global importance like poverty and hunger.
A highlight from the conference was a keynote on Ethical Leadership which introduced us to the eight key questions of ethics. These include: fairness How can I act equitably and balance all interests?, outcomes What possible actions achieve the best shortterm and longterm results?, responsibilities What duties and/or obligations apply?, character What action best reflects who I am and the person I want to become?, liberty How does respect for freedom, personal autonomy, or consent apply?, empathy What would I do if I cared deeply about those involved?, authority What do legitimate authorities expect of me?, and lastly, rights What rights, if any, ( innate, legal, social ) apply? All of these are key questions that should be used when evaluating the ethical dimensions of a situation.
My participation in this conference has not only resulted in gaining fantastic memories and good relationships, but also in acquiring life lessons towards being a responsible and ethical individual which I plan to share with others here at the University of Richmond. For instance, we must always face the complexity involved in making ethical choices. Be a leader who talks about the difficult ethical choices and involve others in many of the ethical decisions. Never be afraid to address issues with someone who has opposing views. Do not separate ethics from our day to day lives and never allow negative interpersonal behaviours to erode trust. We must cultivate a respectful environment in which our friends and other persons can speak up about ethics and share the responsibility for living it. Lastly, we should celebrate and cherish positive ethical moments, talk about ethics as an ongoing learning journey and not a once a year program and also, not think about ethics as just following some rules and regulations.
It is important for us to recognize that the world changes constantly, and that ethical conduct requires that everyone remain vigilant. Through this program, I have been able to develop new skills as a leader, work collaboratively with other participants at the conference, become aware of my strengths and areas of growth, show dedication to my responsibilities, and also contribute to pressing issues of global importance such as hunger and poverty. Overall, I had a blast at this year’s ISLC and would definitely recommend this program to other students. I am grateful for the PAM Fund for making this possible and every individual from UR who accompanied me on this trip, especially Mr. Roger Mancastroppa. I am looking forward to ISLC 2016.