Sister Joan takes a trip to India

Pictured above are President Joan Lescinski and Dr. Arun Pillutla while visiting a university in India.

Relationships don’t come easily. There is time and effort put in by both sides that needs to happen. A trust needs to be built so that the interactions are based on solid ground.
Over spring break, President Sister Joan Lescinski, PhD, Professor Arun Pillutla, and Dean of the College of Business Dave O’Connell visited several schools in India. When Sister Lescinski first came to St. Ambrose in 2007, she came with a plan. She wanted to help the institution grow and develop for more global interaction, not just for students but for professors as well. Over the break, she signed an agreement with one particular school in hopes of building a strong relationship for future students, both here and abroad.
“India, why, because it’s a huge country with over a billion people and over the next decade or two will be the largest, most populist nation in the world and will surpass China,” Sister Lescinski said. “It’s ancient culture is rich, very rich and very wonderful.”
Another sticking point that made the decision of India an easier choice was the fact that the official language of India is English. Students can come here and immediately have language facility. Professors would be able to freely interact with students from across the globe.
One particular relationship that was built has been stronger than most. St. Francis College for Women in Hyderabad, the capital of Andhra Pradesh, India, was found to be harmonious with St. Ambrose. The concern for their students and their success was likened to what Sister Lescinski and the faculty has tried to establish here at Ambrose. Several students from St. Francis helped build this strong relationship largely because of the exchange program last summer they participated in.
“We have begun at St. Ambrose a program called the American Business Experience program,” Director of International Education Ryan Dye said. “It’s a summer program and we held it for the first time last summer and four students from St. Francis attended that program. And that helped to build the relationship.”
During the program, the students were able to learn about the best practices in American business. The program is more of a learning experiencing for the students participating. Along with the students, the President of St. Francis also came to St. Ambrose this summer.
“Sister Alfonsa came to check us out and make sure we were the kind of place that she would want her students to come to,” Sister Lescinski said. “I had the privilege of hosting her at my home and over the course of a week, we got to exchange a lot of information and really develop the kind of relationship and trust on which these things can be built.”
It was then our turn to send students to India and continue the talks between the two colleges. Professor of managerial studies Arun Pillutla accompanied several students to visit and continue talks with the St. Francis College for Women. These exchanges, and two to three years of relationship building, will help both institutions culturally and in future relationships. Other schools in Hyderabad have been discussed as well as a school in London.
“It’s win-win in every direction,” Sister Lescinski said. “Because in both instances, it allows two cultures to know each other better and I firmly believe that the path to world peace comes in these kinds of exchanges.”
Students can feel more involved in the trip, even though it has been completed. A blog was kept with notes and pictures from the trip, with all contributing but most coming from Dr. O’Connell.
“All of this seems to me to take us one step closer to being a university where the sense of the wider world will grow stronger each year, a place where our students, indeed all of us, can become more aware of the global village we all inhabit,” Sister Lescinski said in her last blog post about the trip.

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