Project Nicaragua program director to speak at U.S. Department of Education leadership symposium

8.6.2008 Article, Global, School News

A Wake Forest University Babcock Graduate School of Management student has been invited to participate in a “Symposium on Emerging Issues in Character Education” on Aug. 18 at the U.S. Department of Education in Washington, D.C.

Project Nicaragua co-founder and program director Chris Yuko (MBA ’09) will discuss the Babcock School’s work in Central America and the project’s efforts to develop socially responsible leaders.

Project Nicaragua is an ongoing MBA student-driven effort to educate aspiring entrepreneurs and small business owners in the economically deprived area in and around Managua. A few weeks into his MBA experience in fall 2006, Yuko began linking the business concepts he was learning in the classroom with the vital need for formal business skills among rising business owners in Nicaragua who didn’t have access to business education or training. A two-day seminar created and presented by Babcock MBAs has become the lifeblood of the project, which was expanded this summer to Benin, Africa.

The purpose of the symposium is to present a set of scholarly research papers on emerging issues in character education and to facilitate a discussion with key stakeholders in the education and business communities that will help advance the field of character education, said Linda McKay of the U.S. Department of Education.

Yuko is part of a panel that will discuss “The Impact of Character Education on Students Enrolled in Institution of Higher Education.”

“Specifically we would like this presentation to focus on the Thomas A. Dingledine Fund for Responsible Business and the Babcock Graduate School of Management’s goal to graduate ethical, social and environmentally responsible business leaders, the Dingledine Scholarship for Positive Social Impact, and other plans to expand this type of program focus for undergraduate students attending the university,” McKay said.

“We expect the outcomes of the symposium to produce innovative and crosscutting research, along with promising practices that support schools and communities in helping our youth to develop positive character and become productive and engaging citizens.”

Sherry Moss, interim full-time program director for the Babcock School and Project Nicaragua adviser, said the overall benefit of Project Nicaragua for Babcock students is at least three-fold: students gain international exposure in the developing world; students experience real world implementation of their MBA education beyond case studies in the classroom; and students gain an appreciation of social responsibility that will transcend into their corporate careers as managers.

“I think this is a great opportunity to further highlight our project,” Moss said of the symposium.