By Tiara Freeman
A team of Grambling State University faculty and five students spent Nov. 3-5 at Christ (Deemed to be University) in Bangalore, India, to participate in the 2023 Triennial International Let Us Dream Conference.
Let Us Dream was established in 2017 at Louisiana Tech University by Father Lijo Thomas of Christ University with Grambling State University and University of Louisiana Monroe as partner institutions.
Grambling State University has partnered with Let Us Dream since 2018.
The annual conferences provide opportunities to engage in active conversations concerning community improvement-based research, experience, and best practices in education, health and social activism.
With more than 50 speakers, more than 15 universities and more than 50 community service organizations on hand, the Let Us Dream 2023 conference provided a wealth of knowledge and community engagement.
Grambling State University made history as the only historically black college or university (HBCU) to be represented at the conference with President Rick Gallot, Jr. virtually serving as the keynote speaker on Day 2.
GSU’s student delegation consisted of Tiara Freeman, Jakyrannee Phillips, Mysty Henry (graduate students in Mass Communication and Education), Isaiah Farrell and Terrence Robinson (Call Me MiSTERs and undergraduate education majors).
Faculty representing GSU at the conference included Dr. Suzanne Mayo-Theus, Dr. George Noflin, Dr. Aaron Livingston, and Dr. Coleen Speed.
Upon arrival at Christ University and throughout the conference, Let Us Dream ambassadors provided great hospitality to Grambling’s students and faculty, and after a good night’s rest, the event commenced as.GSU led the Student Workshop with all five students speaking about topics related to their academic majors in the United States, attending an HBCU and life experiences in the South.
Freeman and Phillips, both second year Mass Communication Graduate Students, spoke about the Media In the U.S. and empowering future leaders for tomorrow. In addition to their speeches, the GSU duo also encouraged Christ students to apply to Grambling State University’s Mass Communication program, which has four-year partial scholarships available for international students.
Henry, a graduate student in Education at GSU, delivered a speech titled “Helping Children Thrive Today.” With 25 years of experience in education, Henry was able to enrich the students in attendance with knowledge and tactics she uses for her own students’ growth.
Farrell and Robinson spoke about Grambling State’s Call Me MiSTER program and why African American males are needed in the educational system. The Call Me MiSTER program provides scholarships for African American male students who seek careers in education.
Through this workshop, Grambling’s students were able to inspire the minds of Christ students and showcase the educational and cultural opportunities GSU has to offer.
Grambling’s faculty also stormed the conference with numerous panels and speeches given throughout the three day conference. Dr. Mayo-Theus, a lecturer in GSU’s Department of Family and Consumer Sciences, spoke about diversity, equity and inclusion with an emphasis on disability and educated the global panel audience on HBCU history.
Dr. Noflin, an associate professor and director of GSU’s Call Me MiSTER program, gave a riveting speech about the impact of that program, encouraging those in attendance to identify their dream and follow it day in and day out while Dr. Speed, GSU’s director of Student Counseling and Wellness Center, delivered information about mental health awareness and her active role here on campus.
And Dr. Livingston,a professor and Graduate Coordinator of GSU’s Sports Administration graduate program, shared his thoughts on how to balance sports and their impact on the mind and body while continuing to move through school and life challenges.
Along with the numerous panels and workshops students and faculty networked with delegates across the world representing their universities. Christ University’s location in Bangalore, India, provided an invaluable cultural experience sure to encourage future cross-cultural events for GSU.
After participating in the Let Us Dream conference for several years, Grambling State University will play host to the 2024 Let Us Dream Conference in Grambling, Louisiana, in October of 2024.
For more information on the LUD Conference, email Mayo-Theus at email@example.com.