International Day of Peace –Join us today

Join WORLD and the Office of Religious and Spiritual Life to celebrate the United Nations International Day of Peace.

Join us today, Sept. 18 from 11:30 a.m.-12:50 p.m., in the Conrad Hall Lounge for conversations over lunch on the following topics:

  • Personal peace with Sensei Morris Sullivan, University Chaplain
  • Interpersonal peace with Dr. Leila Roach, Department of Counselor Education
  • Environmental peace with Nate Bodger ’19

Moe’s and Cultural Credit will be provided.

PEACE DAY 2019 THEME: CLIMATE ACTION FOR PEACE

The theme draws attention to the importance of combatting climate change as a way to protect and promote peace throughout the world.

Each year the International Day of Peace is observed around the world on September 21. The General Assembly has declared this as a day devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace, both within and among all nations and peoples.

WORLD Students Participate in Global Leadership Summit

by Gabby Cassidy

Over Spring Break 2019, WORLD ambassadors Zoe Weaver and Caylyn Gunby attended the Global Student Leadership Summit in Boston, MA.

This conference, for students who had participated in study abroad and other international programs, had a goal to help them develop skills as successful global leaders. It also focused on students from diverse and underrepresented populations, such as first-generation, racial/ethnic minority, students with disabilities, high financial need, LGBTQ+, etc. Many face obstacles acquiring educational and leadership opportunities.

Throughout the conference, Weaver found herself learning more than she expected from the sessions. She was pushed to see the bigger picture of education abroad.

“I was pushed to see my study abroad as a time that I developed personally and was finally able to articulate the challenges of my trip to those who would understand. Then, after listening to others tell their own stories, I realized that we each had a unique experience that created the larger picture of diversity abroad.”

The connections she made with other students helped her to understand her own experiences and the education she received while studying in South Korea and Taiwan. Weaver also learned about the importance of diversity in study abroad and was inspired to do more here at Stetson. She expressed her desire to connect with the Black Student Association, the Asia Pacific American Coalition, the Caribbean Student Association, and other multicultural organizations to develop more initiatives to get their members involved in study abroad programs.

“Although being a woman brings its own challenges to international travel, I further developed an understanding of my privilege during this conference as an able-bodied, white, American student. Through this understanding, I began to build a standard for myself when it comes to becoming an ally both abroad and domestically to students who lack the opportunity to do the same as I.”

Gunby felt that the conference was a great professional opportunity for her. The panels and speakers had a profound impact and helped her feel confident in her plans post-graduation. The chance to connect with graduate schools and professionals, as well as other students in her same positions, helped her to reflect on her identity and improve her confidence in speaking about her experiences.

“Being able to speak with professionals who are now in International Education, who taught English abroad through JET, Fulbright, and TAPIF made me feel like I was taking the right steps towards a career in International Education or International Affairs.”

Gunby would like to bring more networking opportunities to Stetson’s campus for international careers. Events such as the Global Citizenship Fair and Acerima could benefit from having a keynote speaker or speakers from minority groups.

“The keynote speakers at the conference were inspiring and helped all of the students get involved and excited about the activities.”

Overall, her experiences at the Global Leadership Summit helped her to grow professionally as well as to have more confidence in her abilities and plans for the future.

Stetson’s Portuguese Instructor at Yale University: the Building and Sharing of a Legacy

By Fernanda Ribeiro, Fulbright Brazilian Language Scholar

I have never taught my mother tongue to non-native speakers of Portuguese before. When I arrived at Stetson University as a Fulbright scholar last year, on the 8th of August, I was given the mission of continuing the wonderful work left by Raquel Santos (2015-2016), Ana Paula Spalenza Pereira (2016-2017) and Greici Buzzi (2017-2018) each in turn,  a Teacher Scholar in Stetson’s Portuguese program. Then I thought: What can I do to leave my legacy on campus in nine months and contribute to the recognition and importance of one having a Portuguese language program at Stetson after my going back to Brazil?

Fernanda Rebeiro, Stetson FLTA 2018-2019

“Will I be able to meet Fulbright’s goals and truly represent my country as a cultural ambassador? It was quite a challenge, I must confess.”

On my first day as a Portuguese instructor, I had 8 students from the most diverse linguistic backgrounds: Spanish speakers, heritage speakers of Portuguese, polyglots, monolinguals. In spite of the differences, all of them had chosen to learn Portuguese, among the myriad of languages that the Department of World Languages and Cultures offer every semester, and, as a native speaker of Portuguese and a graduated teacher with years of experience, I had to give them my best, and the best of my country and my language.

Fernanda Rebiero presenting her work at stetson to other Fulbright Scholars at Yale University, Connecticut in spring 2019

With a lot of guaraná, brigadeiros, cheese breads (of course!), memes and music, the classes have been fun, dynamic and full of learning. My students have become my friends and I have learned a lot from and with them too – and that is one of the priceless opportunities we have as teachers. Outside the classroom hours, I have organized tablings, Brazilian clubs, cultural credit events and tertulias, everything under the fantastic supervision of the wonderful Dr. Pamela Cappas-Toro, who has always given me a free hand to do my best here, allowing me to be truly and entirely myself.

And the days have passed, so has the semester. I have been in DeLand for 7 months now and it is already my second and last semester as a Portuguese instructor here at Stetson. During a talk with Dr. Cappas-Toro, she told me that I am the last Fulbright scholar of Portuguese and that, in the Fall semester of 2019, there will be a full-time professor, whose commitment with the Department of World Languages and Cultures includes making the Portuguese program even stronger through the offer of higher level Portuguese courses – currently Stetson offers 101 and 102 levels only. What does it mean? It means that all the work of the four Brazilian Fulbrighers had not been in vain. It is quite the contrary: the four of us have planted seeds which have been constantly watered and which have now bloomed into beautiful flowers.

Fernanda Ribiero visits Yale University to present on her work as a Fulbright Language Teaching Assistant at Stetson during the 2018-2019 academic year.

With such accomplishments in mind, and full of joy, I traveled to Connecticut last month and talked about the teaching of Portuguese at Stetson University at a conference at Yale University. There, I encountered the other Brazilian Portuguese instructors that came to the US with me and it was such a great experience. When I was presenting my speech, I was really moved because I could share my experience not only as a language instructor but also as a representative of Brazil, and as a cultural ambassador, I could say, and reinforce without any doubt the impact the Fulbright scholars have in a community and in the world. Raquel’s, Ana Paula’s and Greci’s work was also mentioned at Yale, after all we are a team!

These months here have been a daily learning. I am sure that I am not the same Fernanda anymore. With expanded horizons, a renewed cultural and linguistic baggage of knowledge and the most important thing – my legacy left at Stetson – , I will go back to my home country with the feeling of having fulfilled my duty. My future and my perspectives will be forever changed because my home will always have a little of this country and the wonderful family I have built here. After all, we are the result of the books we read, the places we visit, the languages we speak and teach and the people we get to meet – a  change for the better.

Fernanda Ribeiro joins Stetson University from Brazil to teach Portuguese as a Fulbright Language Teaching Assistant. She is a first-generation college student who graduated from Federal Rural University of Rio de Janeiro in 2015, earning a licentiate degree in Portuguese, English and their respective literatures. Ms. Ribeiro earned a Master’s degree in linguistics from Federal University of Rio de Janeiro this past February. For more on Ms. Ribero, click here.

Sprouting Growth


Through the Alliance for International Reforestation Inc. and Stetson, students are planting seeds for learning in Central America.

Since the year 2000, the Alliance for International Reforestation Inc. (AIR) has enjoyed a strong partnership with David and Leighan Rinker, longtime ardent Stetson benefactors, in offering transformational service experiences for Stetson students in Central America.

The partnership actually began when in 1999 David Rinker offered to support student trips with Anne Hallum, Ph.D., a Stetson political science professor and founder of AIR, through the Marshall E. Rinker Sr. Foundation. David Rinker had learned of Hallum’s early experiences working in Guatemala — training farmers in sustainable agriculture and other services — and he wanted students to benefit as well.

Through the years, both literally and figuratively, it’s been quite a journey.

Today, selected students — based on grades, a reflective essay and an interview — participate in three primary programs, along with academic assignments, over a period of four to six weeks. The word participate is used loosely.

Students build stoves with Mayan families and the AIR staff; they are actively engage at rural schools; they plant fast-growing trees on deforested slopes; and they maintain a journal of reflections on friendships made and lessons learned.


Camaraderie with locals is part of the AIR experience for students.

Over the years, for example, more than 100 stoves have been constructed — involving cement mixing and brick laying — to help prevent lung disease and conserve precious trees. Meanwhile, more than 45,000 fast-growing trees have been planted —up to 4,000 trees each month by hand on mountains — to improve crops and prevent mudslides.

The trips, clearly, aren’t vacations, except for the Saturday “tourist days.”

Last summer, in addition to building and planting, a student with a special interest in marketing shadowed Hallum to learn the nuances of fundraising and donor relations.

The travel expenses for each of those students, as well as for Hallum, are covered by the Marshall E. Rinker Sr. grant (with some funds from Latin American Studies when more students traveled). Those annual grants total approximately $9,000 each June, which cover hotels, food, ground transportation, small stipends and continual supervision by the AIR staff members.

For the students, the payoffs have been significant.

A first-year student was taught the “sheer joy” of an exhausting day of service (especially outdoors). An impressionable 19-year-old who spent six weeks with AIR in Guatemala now is an accomplished alumnus. More generally, AIR has impacted how student view the world.


Thanks to charitable funding and Anne Hallum, Ph.D., a former political science professor at Stetson, students continue to participate in uncommon immersion abroad.

Until June 2012, Hallum taught full-time at Stetson and managed AIR’s early growth in Nicaragua and Guatemala. She was able to combine the service work in rural Guatemala and Nicaragua with her own academic research, and to find ways for students to earn academic credits in independent studies such as immersion Spanish, environmental activism, Latin American studies: Mayan Culture, and religion and the environment.

Hallum left Stetson in 2012, moving to Atlanta to work full-time (non-salaried) as president of AIR-Guatemala. Yet, even today, by virtue of her personal ties to the university and the Rinker support, she continues to exclusively host Stetson students for lengthy immersion experiences.
Not coincidentally, in 2017 AIR Guatemala received its second recognition from the United Nations, as a winner of the 2017 Equator Prize, presented by the United Nations Development Programme.

As a result, a reforestation organization founded on the third floor of Elizabeth Hall at Stetson more than 25 years ago now is globally acclaimed. Even greater, it continues to provide uncommon experiences of growth for Stetson students.

-Michael Candelaria

Originally posted at Stetson Today on February 25, 2019

A Once In a Lifetime Educational Experience

My junior year abroad, as part of Stetson University’s program in Freiburg, Germany, will always mark one of the best years of my life.


I was in Berlin in  November 1989 with my fellow Stetson classmates, just days before the Berlin Wall fell and German reunification took place.  Also, the German national soccer team won the World Cup in 1990, where I attended two of the team’s games in Milan, Italy.  However, the highlight of my stay in Germany was taking a glider plane ride over the majestic Black Forest.

Located in the southwestern corner of Germany bordering Switzerland and France in the Black Forest, Freiburg boasts something that no other German city has – the most sun days per year in Germany. The city’s history, which dates back to the 11th century, is evident in its historic buildings, narrow cobblestone streets and of course, Muenster (Cathedral).

It was not until I arrived in Freiburg that I found that of the roughly 300,000 inhabitants, more than 100,000 were students at “The Uni”, the name its students affectionately refer to Albert-Ludwigs-Universitaet Freiburg. Yet, I feel the advantage Freiburg has over any large university in the US is its global reach and cultural diversity in attracting international students from 120 nations due to its geographical location and top-notch academics. In 2012, Freiburg Universitaet was ranked the best German university.

The best thing that the Freiburg program taught me was to have a real dialogue on different cultural and political ideas with Germans, Iranians, Turks, etc., while at the same time being the best ambassador I could for my country in educating students from other nations about the equality, individualism and private free enterprise that makes the US truly great.

Surprising to me was that my German major played more of a role than my political science major in landing my first job with a German commodities company in Manhattan in 1991. With this global corporation, Ruhrkohle Trading, I travelled the world continuing to build on the lessons I learned at Freiburg Universitaet in respecting other viewpoints and cultures. This greatly assisted in my successfully negotiating with foreign cultures across the globe, Brazil, China, Japan, South Africa, etc. in the trade of seaborne cargoes of natural resources.

I have worked for three companies, Ruhrkohle Trading, Evolution Markets and Wood Mackenzie, for 12 years in Manhattan as well as three years for a subsidiary of ArcelorMittal in Baltimore. The remainder of my career has been spent in home-based trading or advisory commodities businesses for global financial firms.

It is my belief that every student should take advantage of a semester or year abroad as part of their tertiary education in order to gain better linguistic skills and more importantly, a better understanding of foreign cultures and how other countries operate. Stetson University offers the best foreign exchange program available in unlocking this invaluable educational experience – Freiburg.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Markus Bates grew up in Darien, Conn. and earned a bachelor of arts degree in political science and German from Stetson University in 1991.

After earning his degree at Stetson University, Markus distinguished himself by leading operations for trading companies that resulted in becoming the largest exporter of steel raw materials from China for close to a decade. Overall, he has held senior executive positions in the trade of global commodities for 13 years. In 2011, he attained an ongoing education graduate degree in accounting from Sacred Heart University.

Today, Markus lives in Ridgefield, Conn. with his 13-year-old son and runs his own management consulting firm. He enjoys coaching youth sports, skiing and swimming.