Welcome back Periclean Scholars

Welcome back Periclean Sholars


As I write this the world is celebrating World Humanitarian Day and many global citizens are (re) taking a pledge to do their part in making the world a safer place where health, hope and dignity are available to all.  Most of you know that right now we are facing the biggest refugee crisis since World War II, with lives in Syria and all over the Middle East in turmoil.  This story tells one tale, and this another, both stark reminders of the complex issues we face as a global community and as humanitarians.

That our program is a positive force is beyond question.  Each of the eleven alumni Classes made a huge diffpericlean logoerence both locally and globally.  The accomplishments of these past Classes are many:  international conferences organized, documentary films produced and screened, articles written and books written, Pericleans-in-Residence hosted,  programming of speakers and fora organized, countless partnerships with people and organizations resulting in health clinics and homes being built.  The list goes on.

Though the program has always aspired to function at the highest possible ethical standards (avoidingCHS_Diagram_small paternalistic or “toxic charity” kinds of activities), recent Classes has demanded even more from themselves.  Close adherence to our Periclean Pledge and now the Core Humanitarian Standards are now rigorous expectations within the program.

Our charge as Mentors and Directors is to facilitate Class and program activities  insuring that each Scholar has the opportunity to grow academically and personally in ways that would be difficult or impossible outside of our multi-year, interdisciplinary and cohort based model.  Your charge as Pericleans is to push yourselves and your Classmates to fully exploit the synergistic potential of your Class and partnerships you forge by making use of rigorous academic research, skillful use of communication modes, and by employing a passion and work ethic worthy of the mission that you have set out for yourselves.

This year will bring some enhancements to the program with perhaps the most dramatic addition being an Advisory Board made up of past and current Mentors and partners, alumni, and representatives from current Classes.  One function of this body will be to act as a vetting entity for Classes as they consider major budget expenditures, explore partnerships, and other major decisions.  This Board will also provide counsel to the Director and Associate Director with regard to major decisions such as country of focus, choice of new Mentors, and wise allocation of program funds.

Last spring we recruited a team of work-study students who will work on tasks such as a regular newsletter for alumni, parents and friends of the program, social media presence, and other pan-Periclean activities.  One (work-study) Periclean will be responsible to help organize the Steering Committee meetings and will circulate agenda and record (and disseminate) minutes for these meetings.

I will be working closely with Dr. Brian Nienhaus as he begins his role as Mentor for the Class of 2020, recruiting students to work with him and the program as we turn our focus to a new Periclean country of focus, Cuba.  You are all encouraged to help Dr. Nienhaus recruit his Class by talking about the program with any first year students you happen to know.

My door will always be open so please stop by GC 210.  I hope to visit all three Classes in the first couple weeks of the semester just to say hello and answer any questions you might have.

All the best for a great semester.

Tom Arcaro, Director

Post script

In the first pages of his book That the World May Know: Bearing Witness to Atrocity (2007) James Dawes asks, “What is the line that separates those who are merely moved from those who are moved to act?”  At Elon the answer to that question is that some choose to become Periclean Scholars.

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