Laidlaw Scholars undergraduate program comes to Cornell

Cornell students who are passionate about changing the world can now join an international network of like-minded emerging leaders as Laidlaw Scholars, in the Laidlaw Undergraduate Research and Leadership Program.

The global program – supported by the Laidlaw Foundation, which aims to develop a new generation of engaged global citizens and leaders – partners with 12 international universities to promote value-driven ethical leadership, cultural diversity and integrity, encouraging undergraduates to become active global citizens and leaders. The program’s key components teach Laidlaw Scholars to master their skills and invest them to make the world a better place.

Over the next four years, three cohorts of approximately 25 students will participate in the program. Applications for the first cycle are due Jan. 21, 2021; first- and second-year students from any college or major may apply.

“This is an incredible opportunity for Cornell students to build a deep foundation in international research and area expertise with leadership skills finely honed to fulfill Cornell’s grand mission of educating the next generation of global citizens,” said Rachel Beatty Riedl, director of the Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies.

The Einaudi Center will administer the Laidlaw Scholars Program at Cornell, leveraging its faculty expertise and international partners to support the program’s focus on student research.

Scholars will spend the first summer of the program working on a research project and developing skills of analysis, investigative study, problem-solving and data management. This work coincides with another critical component of the program: community-engaged leadership.

Opportunities for leadership development will occur throughout students’ tenure in the program, beginning with an initial leadership training hosted by Cornell’s Office of Engagement Initiatives (OEI).

“We have learned a lot from students and community partners about the importance of community-engaged learning,” said Basil Safi, executive director of OEI. “We are excited to provide opportunities to Laidlaw students that frame leadership with a public purpose as critical to building healthy communities locally and globally.”

Cornell students will put their newly refined skills into practice in their second summer with a leadership-in-action experience. Ranging from charity work abroad to research-based projects, Laidlaw Scholars work alongside community teams to expand their perspectives while doing good in the world.

“Now more than ever, we need to provide students with opportunities and leadership tools to foster meaningful international engagement,” said Wendy Wolford, vice provost for international affairs. “The Laidlaw Scholars Program prioritizes these experiences, reaching across our diverse student body to create globally connected and impactful leaders.”

After the two years are complete, Laidlaw Scholars remain tapped into a global network of like-minded leaders in all fields with the help of an online community for continued collaboration.

“We have always admired Cornell’s revolutionary spirit, research excellence and ethos,” said Susanna Kempe, CEO of the Laidlaw Foundation. “Together we will be developing the next generation of leaders – diverse, passionate evidence-based thinkers, committed to leading with integrity.”

For any questions about the program, email Kristin Ramsay, Cornell's Laidlaw coordinator.

Megan DeMint is a communication specialist supporting Global Cornell.

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Abby Butler