In yellow chalk, scrawled across the blackboard, the quote read, “You are a global citizen by birth.” For SBI professor John Warford, it’s a message that can’t be reinforced strongly enough to FAMU’s student body.
“One of the last things we want is for students to leave FAMU and go out in the world and conduct themselves as ‘ugly Americans,'” Warford said.
Warford spoke Tuesday in the SBI basement at a meeting hosted by Force Five International (F5I), a newly created campus organization focused on educating students about international issues and the opportunities available for travel.
Warford’s speech was one of the highlights of World Week 2001, F5I’s initial effort to mobilize student interest. Julye Williams, one of the four founding members of F5I, said that she and her colleagues were eager to share their experiences abroad with other students.
A graduate student in the MBA pro Williams, an Orlando native, shared details of her stay at the University of Bahia in the Brazilian state of Salvador. Speaking to students at an earlier undergraduate workshop, Williams said the questions posed to her focused mainly on security issues, a heightened concern after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in the United States and the current military operations in Afghanistan.
“A lot of students were concerned about the safety issue,” Williams said. “When I was in Brazil, I was harassed, I was almost mugged three times. Still, when companies, when they see the places you’ve traveled on your resume, the response is different. It’s enthusiastic.”
In his speech to the 15 students in attendance, Warford, a professor of world cultures and resources, quoted Nelson Mandela frequently, proclaiming that African Americans “are frightened by the whole notion of what we are, because responsibility comes with that.”
Events scheduled for Thursday include an international forum at Lee Hall at 12:30 p.m.
In addition to Williams, the other founding members of F5I include MBA students Omar Luqmaan-Harris of Lake Charles, La., Courtney Wagner of Houston and Terry Howard of Columbia, Md. Luqmaan- Harris said the group hopes to expand its membership parameters.
“We’re moving from being a SBI organization to being a campus organization,” Luqmaan-Harris said.