An open conversation for Mason
BY COLLIN COPE STAFF WRITER
On Thursday, March 21, Mason students and staff from both international and domestic backgrounds were invited to come together for the “Right, Wrong or Different event.
The event was hosted by Nicholas Lennon, director of the Leadership Education and Development Office (LEAD), and Sonya Henry, associate director for internationalization and outreach at the Office of International Programs and Services. Attendees had the opportunity for an open discussion about nationalism versus patriotism in the United States as well as across the globe.
To start the session, attendees participated in a four-corners activity to spark discussions regarding their different opinions. One corner of the room was intended for attendees strongly agreeing with a given statement, one for agreeing with the statement, another for disagreeing and finally one for strongly disagreeing.
The statements regarded how to solve global issues, whether or not it is important to put the needs of one’s own country above the needs of others’ and whether global problems need global solutions. This allowed attendees and hosts to get to know each other and understand each other’s differing views.
Following this activity, Associate Professor Dr. Supriya Baily led a discussion on her background as a natural-born citizen as she spent a significant portion of her life in her parents’ home country of India. Baily challenged attendees’ possible preconceptions about the significance of one’s origin and the difference between loyalty and love for one’s home country.
Attendees were able to leave with a new understanding of national identity for immigrants, those who have never left their home country and those who have lived in multiple countries. Overall, the event encouraged students and staff in Mason’s diverse community to come together and dive into potentially difficult and confusing topics impacting the world we live in today.