Two international studies majors from Atlanta’s Spelman College will spend 10 days in Stockholm on a leadership program funded by a Swedish foundation promoting global engagement.
Serena Hughley and Fana HaileSelassie, both of whom also study Spanish language, will have a chance to meet with members of parliament, think tanks, diplomats and other leaders during the trip underwritten by the Montan Foundation.
The Montan International Leadership Experience, or MILE, came about when Swedish Member of Parliament and foundation Chairman
visited the U.S. in 2014 and found out that relatively few Americans travel abroad.
“As the son of a Swedish ambassador I have been all over the world and this has had a profound impact on my worldview. The more you see, the harder it is to be intolerant. I believe in longer bridges, not higher walls,” Mr. Montan said in a news release.
He initially established the program with San Jose State University but recently added the Atlanta historically black women’s college.
He joked in the news release that the rigorous requirements for the scholarship would probably have excluded him if he had applied as a youngster.
The retired legislator and motivational speaker finalized the arrangements with Spelman during a trip to Atlanta earlier this year. While here, he also attended a meeting of the Carter Center Board of Councilors with Swedish Honorary Consul Tom Rosseland to consider how his organization might support the Carter Center’s peace-building and global health work.
The Montan Foundation’s humanitarian arm for years has backed water projects in Liberia, where Mr. Montan spent 10 years running a gravel company between 1979-89, staying on for awhile even after the outbreak of the country’s brutal civil war in 1985. The Carter Center has longstanding mental health and democracy programs in the West African nation.
Mr. Montan lived in West Germany as a child and later got his first job in Nuremberg, an Atlanta sister city. He spent time as a non-commissioned officer in the Swedish cavalry and was eventually elected to the city council in Kristianstad in his early 40s, later becoming a parliamentarian. He has traveled and worked in 54 countries.
The MILE Awards will be presented to Ms. Hughley and Ms. HaileSelassie Thursday, April 25, at 11 a.m. at Spelman College’s Milligan Building.
Their honor comes just a month after Spelman student Briya Todd was named a Frederick Douglass Global Fellows in the U.S., an honor that comes with a trip to London.