Public Engagement Lab draws on tools Foreign Exchanges has developed for college-age students and educators to build their skills of sustainability, including self-awareness, accountability, responsibility, communication, time management, inter personal skills, empathy and group cohesion.
As young adults train to enter the professional workplace they require emotional intelligence to become socially adept with values of accountability, responsibility, reciprocity and empathy. These values are as important as the intellectual skills we expect them to achieve. Today the forces of globalization, information technology, diminishing natural resources and financial crisis are adding huge stresses. New values of collaborative and collective engagement are essential to build healthy and generative futures for all and for the institutions that support us, political, economic, educational, and cultural. We are dependent on our young adults to carry us towards the future. We must provide them with the skills to do so.
In our Public Engagement workshops at the Otis College of Art and Design, Los Angeles, we have seen remarkable success in students better able to recognize their strengths as well as their challenges to more consciously offer their capacities, ask for assistance and manage their time. Students are enabled to recognize the challenges the internship site presents to them and decipher cultural and perceptual differences. The engagement skills help them to put situations into perspective and to negotiate their needs.