Leadership Across Difference: Lessons from Medieval Spain

This program will now be offered in May 2022. For more information and/or to get on the interest list, please contact Dr. Nick Lennon at nlennon@gmu.edu.

How do I apply and submit the deposit?
Go to the following link to complete the application process: Coming soon

Program dates will be approximately May 19 – May 28, 2022 (the dates may change by a few days at the most, but we will leave no earlier than May 16, 2022 and return from Europe no later than June 2, 2022).

There will be group meetings before our time in Spain. We will start in Toledo, Spain around Thursday, May 20, 2022. We will end in Madrid, Spain around Friday, May 28, 2022. Before applying please make sure you are able to be in Europe for 10 days sometime between around May 16-June 2, 2022.



This is the great new problem of mankind. We have inherited a large house, a great ‘world house’ in which we have to live together—black and white, Easterner and Westerner, Gentile and Jew, Catholic and Protestant, Muslim and Hindu—a family unduly separated in ideas, culture and interest, who, because we can never again live apart, must learn somehow to live with each other in peace.”

~ Martin Luther King Jr.

“To see the other side, to defend another people, not despite your tradition, but because of it, is the heart of pluralism.”

~ Eboo Patel, IFYC Founder and President (Acts of Faith)


Are you ready for a life-changing experience in Spain (Toledo, Cordoba, Seville, Granada and Madrid)?

  • Want to earn 3 credits as part of this 10 day experience?
  • Interested in examining the idea that Muslims, Christians and Jews collaborated and lived together, relatively peacefully, for hundreds of years in Medieval Spain?
  • Ready to learn about leadership and ethics from historical examples of conflict, cooperation and collaboration?
  • Curious about what we can do today to move towards mutual understanding, respect and a focus on the common good?
  • Want to have a leadership course/experience on your transcript and/or resume?
  • Undergraduate or Graduate credit available (see below).

It is not too early to start thinking about how this course can fit into your schedule. Space is limited.

Increasingly, polarization is acknowledged as a significant and dangerous problem in the United States and around the world. In an age of filter bubbles and echo chambers, how can we move towards a more pluralistic society where there is a greater focus on mutual understanding, respect and the common good? During the medieval era, part of what is now Spain was ruled by an Islamic civilization called Al-Andalus. Muslims, Christians and Jews collaborated and lived together relatively peacefully for hundreds of years. However, this history is also contested. What can today’s students learn from the history of this region of Spain? Using an interdisciplinary approach, this faculty-led study abroad course will help prepare students to be more effective, ethical leaders by introducing them to historical examples of conflict, cooperation and collaboration across difference in Spain. We will examine the history of this region with a specific focus on what we can learn about ethics and leadership across difference that is applicable to students and life today.

Ethics and leadership across difference will be explored from a wide range of disciplines, contexts, and professions. Students and the course facilitator(s) will work together to explore questions such as: How are values and ethics established in individuals, groups and organizations with different backgrounds and worldviews? What are the responsibilities of leaders to establish ethical climates in their organizations and communities? What are the responsibilities of followers and bystanders? Are there, or should there be, universal values and ethical principles in leadership? How does culture influence ethics and leadership? Why do ordinary people behave unethically? Why do good people do bad things? What are some helpful approaches to leading across difference in an ethical manner? How does this all relate to you, today?

This traveling learning community will connect formal knowledge with real world experiences. Student participants will return better prepared to unite communities across difference and have a positive and powerful impact on the Mason community, and beyond.

This will count as a Summer course and can apply to the School of Integrative Studies (SIS) leadership minor (counts as a required course for the minor or as an elective requirement), but you do not need to be in the minor to take the course.

Undergraduate credit available through:

  • School of Integrative Studies (INTS 498): can count as a substitute for INTS 404 “Ethics and Leadership”
  • Psychology (PSYC 461)
  • History Department (HIST 388)
  • Conflict Analysis and Resolution (CONF 385)

Graduate credit available through:

  • School of Integrative Studies (INTS 595)
  • Conflict Analysis and Resolution (CONF 695)

The cost for this unique Field Study course are estimated at TBA not including airfare to Spain, or TBA if you’d like your airfare included. It may be possible to apply your financial aid to this course (summer financial aid). The cost includes tuition for the course (3 credits), transportation within Spain with a full time tour director from our partner Hart Travel, hotels for 8 nights (with private bathrooms), international emergency insurance, all breakfasts and some other meals, sightseeing tours with local expert guides and site entrances. Spaces in this course will be limited!

  • For information about registration and payment please contact Greg Justice (Enterprise Hall Room 433, Fairfax Campus) at gjustice@gmu.edu; 703-993-1740
  • For information about course academics please contact Dr. Nick Lennon at nlennon@gmu.edu

 


FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions):

What is the deadline to apply?
Application forms and deposit must be received no later than TBA. There is a $TBA discount for those who enroll prior to TBA.

How do I apply?
Go to the following link to complete the application process: TBA

  • If the link above does not work, please go to the following link and search for “Leadership Across Difference” under “Search Programs”: TBA

Once you create an application for the program via the site above, the next steps in the process are the following:

  • We will contact you about an “advising interview”. This is a 15 minute phone conversation and you do not need to prepare anything for this conversation.
  • We will let you know if you can move forward in the process.
  • If you are OK to move forward in the process we will give you a code to be able to pay the $TBA deposit.
    • Note: You must submit your $TBA deposit via the button on the application website to hold your spot. Space is limited.

Are university students from all backgrounds welcome on this field study course?  
Absolutely! We welcome university students from all backgrounds, viewpoints, etc. Through the example of Medieval Spain we will be learning about leadership across difference and how it applies to YOU, TODAY. Medieval Spain is the case study, the lessons are applicable to all. Note: our philosophy of leadership is that everyone has the potential to be a leader and that leadership does not require a formal position. GPA requirement: Undergraduate students must have a 2.5 GPA or above to participate, Graduate students must have a 3.0 GPA or above to participate.

I am not a George Mason University student, can I still participate?
Yes, we can enroll you as a non-matriculating student, which will allow you to transfer credit to your home institution. Please check with your department first however to be sure the credits are applicable to your degree.

Is there a travel company that will be taking us around Spain?
Yes, we are working with Hart Travel Partners (https://www.harttravelpartners.com/). A well-respected company that has helped teachers and students discover the world through culturally immersive educational travel. We will have a full time tour director from Hart Travel Partners with us 24 hours a day. Hart Travel Partners support team’s phone number is TBA.

Can I travel in Spain and/or other parts of Europe before and/or after this field study course?
Yes! Students often like to travel before and/or after a field study course. You can choose to purchase your own round trip airfare to Europe so that you have the flexibility to travel to and from Europe when it works best for you or you can work with Hart Travel Partners to schedule an extended stay in Europe. Please note that final class assignments will be due around June 30, 2022 (approximately 1 month after our time together in Spain) so if you are traveling after our last day together in Spain, please make sure you will have time to work on the assignments.

Where will we meet in Spain?
For those who are purchasing their own flights to/from Spain, we will meet at a clearly specified day/time at our hotel in Toledo, Spain. For those who would like their flights to/from Spain included, Hart Travel Partners will meet us at the airport in Madrid, Spain and transport us to our hotel in Toledo. You will receive more specific details after you have applied.

What is the itinerary (where will we be visiting each day)?
A sample itinerary is listed below (itinerary is subject to change).

Approximately 2-3 pre-departure meetings at times to be determined during spring semester.

  • DAY 1: Overnight flight from Dulles to Madrid.
  • DAY 2: TOLEDO – arrival in Madrid airport and meet travel director, transfer to Toledo for hotel check in. Upon arrival there will be a panoramic drive around the city with a stop for photo opportunities. In the afternoon there will be an orientation walk around this former capital of Spain. Welcome dinner.
  • DAY 3: TOLEDO – a local guide will introduce you to the highlights of Toledo. Visit the stunning gothic cathedral, the Santa Maria la Blanca synagogue, the Tránsito synagogue and the Santo Tomé Chapel to admire the Burial of the Count of Orgaz by El Greco.
  • DAY 4: SEVILLE – drive to Córdoba where a local guide will lead a visit of the Mezquita and the Jewish quarter. You will also stop for a view of the Mezquita from the other side of the Roman bridge. In the afternoon continue to Seville for dinner and overnight.
  • DAY 5: SEVILLE – a guided tour of the highlights of the city includes the Plaza de España, the jewish quarter, the Cathedral and the Royal Palace (Alcázar).
  • DAY 6: GRANADA – drive to Granada. Upon arrival visit the Royal Chapel to see the tombs of the Catholic Kings.
  • DAY 7: GRANADA – in the morning Upon arrival a local guide will lead a tour of the Alhambra Palace the inspiration for music and stories such as those by Washington Irving. The tour includes a visit to the magnificent Generalife Gardens and the Summer Palace. Evening flamenco show in Sacromonte.
  • DAY 8: MADRID – drive to Madrid. Upon arrival enjoy an orientation walk. Tapas dinner.
  • DAY 9: MADRID – a guided visit introduces to to the highlights of the city such as the Royal Palace, the Plaza de España and the Paseo de la Castellana. Free afternoon.
  • DAY 10: Transfer to airport for return flight to the United States.
  • Itinerary order is subject to change.

I do not have any educational background in leadership, ethics or Medieval Spain, can I still attend?
Definitely! We welcome university students from all disciplines and levels of understanding about these topics. There are no prerequisite courses. GPA requirement: Undergraduate students must have a 2.5 GPA or above to participate, Graduate students must have a 3.0 GPA or above to participate.

What’s the cost and what is included in the cost of this field study course?
The cost includes tuition for the course (3 credits), transportation within Spain with a full time tour director from EF Tours, hotels for 8 nights (with private bathrooms), international emergency insurance, all breakfasts and some other meals, sightseeing tours with local expert guides and site entrances. The cost is $TBA (airfare included to/from Spain and arranged by Hart Travel Partners). You will also need to bring spending money. If you would prefer to arrange and purchase your own flights, we would need to know this by December 20, 2021 and the overall cost will be approximately $TBA cheaper (please check with us for the final cost if you plan to purchase your own flights). Please don’t forget that these prices include 3 credits of tuition which you would be paying for anyway if you took an on campus course.

What is the rooming like?
Hart Travel Partners Rooming Policy: Students 29 years old or under default into rooms of 3 or 4 people based on gender. Travelers 30 years old or older default into twin rooming. Travelers in triples or quads can choose to upgrade to a twin room for an additional cost (approx $TBA). To upgrade to a single room there is an additional charge (approx $TBA, or $TBA in addition to the approx $TBA twin room supplement if you are already paying for the twin room).

Can I apply my financial aid to this field study course?
You should be able to apply your financial aid to this course as you would to any other official Mason summer course, but please confirm with the financial aid office regarding your specific situation.

Which George Mason University course numbers apply?  The course can count as a School of Integrative Studies (SIS) course (counts towards the Leadership Minor in place of the INTS 404, Ethics and Leadership, requirement), a History (HIST) course, or a Psychology course (PSYC 461).

  • Undergraduate: INTS 498, PSYC 461, HIST 388, or CONF 385
  • Graduate: INTS 595, CONF 695

After your deposit has been paid, the SAIL Field Studies office will register you for the appropriate course. You will not register for this study abroad courses through Patriotweb.

Which semester will the 3 credits count towards? Summer.

How much work will this class be and when will assignments be due?
This is a 3 credit class so the amount of work will be equivalent to other 3 credit classes. Our time together will be condensed (traveling together as opposed to meeting a couple times a week in a classroom). Note: Please plan to complete most assignments AFTER our time together in Spain. The course syllabus will have more details about readings and assignments. Most class assignments will be due around June 30, 2022 (approximately 1 month after our last day in Madrid) so if you are traveling after our last day together in Spain please make sure you will have time to work on the assignments.

Can this course count towards the School of Integrative Studies (SIS) Leadership Minor?
Yes, you can substitute this course for the INTS 404 (Ethics & Leadership) requirement OR you can use this course as an approved elective for the minor.

Once I apply, how do I register for the actual course at George Mason University (Undergraduate: INTS 498, PSYC 461, HIST 388 or CONF 385; Graduate: INTS 595 or CONF 695)?
There is an additional step and paperwork that is specific to the registrar’s office that has to be filled out and submitted. When SAIL receives your Application and Deposit they send you the course registration forms. When you have filled these out and returned them to SAIL they will register you for the class and it will show up in your student account (You will not register for your study abroad courses through Patriotweb). You will pay for the program through your student account in summer 2022.

Who is the instructor?

Nick Lennon, PhD
Director, Leadership Education and Development (LEAD)
George Mason University

nlennon@gmu.edu