Required Books

  • The Alms Bazaar, Ian Smillie, 1995
  • Activists Beyond Borders, M. Keck and K Sikkink, 1998
  • Making Them Like Us, F. Fischer, 1998
  • Conflict Mediation Across Cultures, D. Augsburger, 1992

Course Description
The variety, services and number of both "North" and "South" non-governmental organizations has proliferated beyond anyone's wildest expectations in the last decade. Transnational activism is at an all time high. As a service learning course for Global Studies majors, this course will integrate knowledge of NGOs with volunteerism. in agencies that shape and share a "global" vision in some way. By the end of the course, students will have a better working understanding of NGO's management practices, mission and relationships to community, government, transnational organizations. Students will also be able to understand and evaluate intercultural interactions more effectively.

For MLO 9 (Service Learning in Global Affairs), you will gain an understanding of this phenomenon and its implications for global civil society. We will pose such questions as: What is the difference between North and South NGOs; different generations of NGOs, government vs. grassroots NGOs, etc? Why this fluorescence? Are these NGOs and the international development regime the "magic bullet" they have been heralded as? How does one evaluate their effectiveness?

For MLO 8 (Intercultural Communication), you will understand and analyze the meaning of intercultural communication in the context of international NGO work. How does one's socio-cultural background affect values and communication styles? Why is this important for NGO work? The course will focus primarily on conflict management among staff and "clients". By the end of this section, you will be able to evaluate your own intercultural effectiveness and that of your agency.

As a combined Service Learning/Intercultural Communication course, you will be assigned to an agency with transnational linkages. Throughout this course, you will evaluate your agency's mission, service delivery, transnational networks, and evaluation mechanisms. You will also apply theory and practice of intercultural community to your interactions in this volunteer experience.

Learning Outcomes are met by:

I. Participation (30 points)
a) Attendance of all class meetings; participation in class discussions and activities, completion of readings BEFORE the class period. I will allow up to 3 excused absences; after this, each absence will result in a point deduction. This also goes for consistent lateness. I will credit time we spend in fieldtrip(s) and adjust class meetings at CSUBM. There are no incompletes in this course.

b) Fieldtrip (10 pts) A field trip to international development agencies in San Francisco will be organized during the semester at a time that can best accommodate all schedules. It is imperative that all members of the class participate in these. Students will write a 1-2 page reflection paper about the trip.

c) Two Presentations of Reading (10 pts: 5 points each)
Sign up for a presentation of the reading. Each person will hand in a paper that reviews the main topic of the reading and the points you will be making.

II. "Getting a Job in an NGO" Portfolio (15 points)

The goal of this exercise is to take seriously your goal to work in international development and to clarify the issues that concern you. You will submit 3 papers.

Paper 1: Your background and area of interest (5 pts)
a) Why does international development work interest you and what are your goals?
b) country/region of the world in which you want to work and why
c) the issue (maternal health, refugees, micro-credit) that attracts you
d) your skill area (teaching English, nursing, computers) relevant to this issue

Paper 2: What NGOs best fit your goals and skills? (5 pts)
a) Identify about 10 NGOs with short profiles and target at most 3 that are your best choices.
b) Type of NGO/IGOs you've chosen-service learning, Peace Corps, CBO, INGO
c) your projected status within this NGO. Does it have an internship program, does it accept volunteers, do you want a staff position?
d) Your strategy for securing a job in an NGO or in the field of your choice. What is their hiring policy; have you already contacted them?

Paper 3: Presenting Yourself (5 pts)
You will submit letter of application and a copy of the position opening and your resume for a position in an NGO that you have chosen to apply for.

III. Service Learning (25 points)
Five Service Learning Journal entries (20 points) Each entry must be 3-4 pages, double-spaced, and well-written.

Paper 1: Introduce the agency, its mission, clients and something of its "culture".
Paper 2: Interview a staff member or describe an incident illustrating "triangulation". The other papers (3-5) should reflect on any issues of service learning, intercultural communication and conflict that you want to address. High grade will be attributed to a paper that includes a detailed description of the event and an interpretation of the event derived from reading, lecture, class discussion or in-class activities.

For those participating in the Alternative Spring Break to the US/Mexican Border with Global Exchange (March 20-24), you should complete Paper I before the trip, and then complete the others during and afterwards. One could focus on the projects visited and how they relate to class material. Completion of all paperwork between agency and faculty required by the Service Learning Institute. (5 points) There will be check-ins about your service learning assignment throughout the course. At one time during the course, you will offer a role play that reflects upon a problem of intercultural communication within your agency.

IV. Final paper (30 points)
A 10-15 page paper with at least 10 bibliographic citations on a research issue of your choice relating, to the topic of development and service agencies and/or intercultural communication. A good strategy is to take the agency/issue in which you are currently volunteering, and explore it elsewhere in the world.

Evaluation and Grading schema:

A - Outstanding performance in all aspects of the learning experience
B - More than adequate performance in all aspects
C - Adequate performance in all aspects
D - Adequate performance in some aspects, less than adequate in others
F - Less than adequate performance in most aspects

NOTE: I will offer any student a credit/no credit only if they request so in writing at the beginning of the semester.

Participation 30 points
NGO Portfolio 15
Service Learning Journals (5) 20
Service Learning material 5
Final paper 30

TOTAL 100points

GS 365S: Course Schedule

Week I: Addressing a world in Need
Wed, Jan 26 Introduction

Week 2: Volunteerism: local/transnational
Mon, Jan 31 Organization: What is an NGO?
Alms Bazaar Chpt II
"Action on the Front Lines"

Wed, Feb 2 Orientation: Why volunteer?
Profiles of overseas staff

Week 3: Conflict in Cross-Cultural Perspective
Mon Feb 7 Cultures in conflict
Conflict Mediation Across Cultures, Chpts 1, 2

Wed Feb 9 Triangulation
Conflict Mediation Across Cultures, Chpt 5

Friday February 11
Visit Global Exchange and other NGOs in San Francisco

Week 4: The Big Guns: Northern NGOs
Mon, Feb 14 Northern NGOs
Alms Bazaar, Chpts III, VII

Wed, Feb 16: Representations of the Other
Reading, TB A
Guest Speaker: Seth Pollack

Week 5: Northern NGOs (as) Disasters
Mon, Feb 21 Disasters
Alms Bazaar, Chpt VI
Uneasy Alliance (selections)

Wed, Feb 23: SL discussion
Service learning assignments
DUE: NGO Portfolio Paper 1 --discussion

*Week 6: The Peace Corps and Liberal International Development
Mon and Wed, Feb 28 and March I Making Them Like US Chpts 1-3
Speaker: Peace Corps volunteer (TBA)

Week 7: Americans Overseas: Altruism and Culture Shock
Mon March 6
Making Them Like US Chpts 5-6

Wed March 8, Service Learning Activity:
Conflict Mediation Across Cultures, Chpt 3
High context/Low Context communication
Service learning assignments/role plays

Week 8: Americans Overseas: Conflict with the "Other"
Mon and Wed, March 13 and 15
Making Them Like US Chpt 7
Conflict Mediation Across Cultures,
Chpts 4, 6

Wed March 15, Service Learning Activity: Reflecting upon the "other"
Service learning, assignments
DUE: NGO Portfolio Paper 2 -- discussion

SPRING BREAK March 20-24

Week 9: Magic Bullets: Southern NGOs and labor
Mon, March 27 Women in the Global Economy--CSUMB Social Justice Colloquium Angie Tran and Kavita Philip share about women and the political economy in Vietnam and India. Two local activists talk about health issues for women farmworkers.
Readings TBA

Wed, March 29 NO CLASS

Week 10: Magic Bullets?: Accountability
Mon April 3 NGOS in the South: The US/Mexico Border
DUE: Precis of final paper

Wed April 5: NGOS in the South: Bangladesh
Alms Bazaar, Chpt IV
Chpt 10, "NGOs in Bangladesh"

Week 11: North-South arrangements
Mon and Wed, April 10 and 12
Alms Bazaar Chpts X
Magic Bullet, Chpt 5, "European NGOs and Democratization in Central America"

Wed April 12, Transnational Activists
Activists Beyond Borders, Chpt 1, 2
NGO Portfolio Paper 3--discussion

Week 12: Transnational activism: Human Rights and the Environment
Mon, April 17
Activists Beyond Borders, Chpt 3

Wed, April 19
Activists Beyond Borders, Chpt 4

Week 13: Religious/Transnational Activism: Peace and Conflict
Mon, April 24 Interfaith Activism for Peace
Transforming Violence, Chpt 7, 8, 12, 15

Wed, April 26 The Cambodian peace walk
Video on the Dhammayietra

Week 14: Building an ethical and responsive community
Mon and Wed, May 1 and 3
Conflict Mediation Across Cultures, Chpts 7-9
Service Learning wrap up

Week 15:
Mon, May 8 Paper Due/ Presentations

Wed, May 10 Presentations