ILR IP Launches GSL Trips to Peru and Vietnam

ILR IP Launches GSL Trips to Peru and Vietnam
Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Over the last few years, ILR International Programs has launched and grown its Global Service Learning (GSL) projects to include opportunities in India, Zambia, and Costa Rica. This winter, two additional countries have been added to the list: Peru and Vietnam. 

• Peru GSL - The ILR School has partnered with the Universidad Catolica San Pablo (UCSP) to offer a winter break GSL opportunity in Arequipa, Peru. The program will include 4 ILR and 4 UCSP students taking a course entitled Development and Extractive Industries in America Latina: The Case of Mining Companies in Southern Peru (DEal Peru’15). DEal Peru’15 is a firsthand experience that presents corporate social responsibility activities of one of the most controversial industries in Peru. The program combines theoretical and field components that allow participants the opportunity to compare and contrast what they have learned in class with an experience in the field. Participants of the program will also have the opportunity to share perspectives with UCSP students who will take part in the program. The Peru GSL will be led by Joe Grasso, Associate Dean for Finance, Administration, and Corporate Relations of the ILR School.

• Vietnam GSL - The ILR School and the Scheinman Institute are offering a winter break GSL opportunity in Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC), Vietnam. The focus of the program will be in the area of labor relations and conflict resolution. Students will study labor relations and dispute resolution at Ton Duc Thang University (TDTU). ILR students will be paired with TDTU students to work on joint projects. Made possible through funding from the Scheinman Institute, the Vietnam GSL will be led by Richard Fincher (ILR’73), the Executive Director of the Asia Labor Arbitration Project (ALAP) in the Scheinman Institute.

Students who participate in GSL trips engage in problems that afflict global communities at the local level. Service learning motivates reflection and inspires personal growth, while significantly aiding the global community.

J. Lowell Jackson (BSILR ’17) will be taking part in the GSL trip to Vietnam. “I had taken coursework in Southeast Asian history and Bahasa Indonesian and also completed a small research project on Child Labor Trafficking between Myanmar and Thailand for the Scheinman Institute this past fall. The Vietnam GSL program will provide me the invaluable opportunity to synthesize my historical knowledge of Vietnam with my understanding of labor relations provided at ILR.” Originally from Manila, Philippines, Jackson is interested in experiencing another Southeast Asian culture firsthand. “I am interested in Southeast Asia’s growing inter-connectivity. I am interested in how these new intersecting cultures impact the workplace as well as economic development. My research in Vietnam will focus on examining how the Vietnam General Confederation of Labor (VGCL), the nation’s sole trade union, operates and represents the nation’s many industrial sectors. I am especially interested in researching the role of the VGCL in economic development.”

Giovanni Sanchez (BSILR ’15) will be traveling to Peru during winter break. “My goal is to eventually pursue a career in public policy,” he said. “My ultimate objective is to one day take part in reforming the country’s labor law to fortify worker rights. Completing a field study through the Peru GSL program will give me hands-on experience in a field that is extremely relevant and will provide me with exposure to corporate social responsibility programs that I believe will provide me with key insights about the role corporations can play in enacting changes that positively benefit workers.”

Erica Freeman (BSILR ’15) had the opportunity to participate in the GSL trip to India which ignited her passion for examining and improving labor policy around the world. She will be traveling to Peru during winter break. “I learn best through experience,” she said. “I am excited for the opportunity to work closely with students and faculty of UCSP and Cornell in order to further the rights of industrial workers. I am committed to seeing employment policy outcomes arise from critical research. I see this experience as a chance to exchange knowledge and perspectives in the hopes of producing stronger partnerships, as well as a chance to build valuable friendships.” After completing her degree, Freeman hopes to continue her education in public policy and international development. “I want to contribute to research in poverty alleviation strategies and use that research for policy advocacy. Ultimately, I will aim to connect research institutions with community-based nonprofits in developing countries for mutually beneficial exchange,” she said.

ILR International Programs has assisted each participant in funding efforts. “Funding definitely influenced my participation in the program,” explained Jackson. “I would not have been able to afford the airfare or many of the in-country expenses otherwise. ILR International Programs has been very generous and I am extraordinarily thankful for that.” Similarly, Freeman shared, “I would not have been able to participate in this program if it were not for the funding. I appreciate ILR’s commitment to making these opportunities available and affordable.”

For more information on GSL and other international programs within ILR, please visit: http://www.ilr.cornell.edu/international