Leadership Across Difference: Lessons from Medieval Spain (May 2022)
Increasingly, polarization is acknowledged as a significant and dangerous problem in the United States and around the world. In an age of filter bubbles and echo chambers, what can we do to move towards a more pluralistic society where there is a greater focus on mutual understanding, respect and the common good? The history of medieval Spain provides some helpful clues.
This past May, Dr. Nick Lennon, Director of the Leadership Education and Development (LEAD) Office, and Stephanie Zeher from the School of Integrative Studies (SIS), took a group of 20 Mason students to Spain for a program (via Greg Justice's SIS Field Studies office) called: “Leadership Across Difference: Lessons from Medieval Spain.” The group investigated how, during the medieval era, part of what is now Spain was ruled by an Islamic civilization called Al-Andalus. During this time, Muslims, Christians and Jews reportedly collaborated and lived together relatively peacefully for hundreds of years. However, this history is also contested.
The group visited Toledo, Cordoba, Seville, Granada, and Madrid. Students learned how to be more effective, ethical leaders through an examination of historical examples of conflict, cooperation and collaboration across difference in medieval Spain. There was a specific focus on what we can all learn about ethics and leadership that can unite us across our differences today.
Program website: https://lead.gmu.edu/spain/
June 30, 2022