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Parami student joined summer course at Central European University

Updated: Jul 31, 2023

Civic Engagement: Student as Citizen course completion ceremony (Photo courtesy: Photo4her Photography (Naana Agyeman))

Although Parami University is an online university, students have various international exposure opportunities to explore, such as publishing research papers on international platforms and attending summer programs or workshops abroad organized by institutions in the university’s network. This summer, a Parami University undergraduate student traveled to Budapest, Hungary, to attend the eight-day Civic Engagement: Student as Citizen, the Summer University Course organized by Central European University (CEU) with international students from Asia, the US, Africa, and the Middle East.

Civic Engagement: Student as Citizen is an experiential learning course that includes shared group projects, fieldwork, site visits, workshops, and networking with civic leaders for engaging learning. The course focuses on developing the skills and knowledge necessary for effective civic engagement and community leadership. The program aims to connect student leaders from around the world and provide them with a transnational framework to contextualize their own leadership experiences.

“We explore various aspects of civic engagement, including historical, philosophical, and practical elements, with a specific focus on social issues such as political participation, civil society, social justice, and personal responsibility. We examined the concept of engaged citizenship in the early 21st century and explored potential solutions to global challenges. The course also emphasizes the importance of international diversity, allowing us to learn from the experiences and perspectives of our peers from different countries,” Naing Min Khant, Parami University Class of 2026

Moreover, the participants are divided into groups of two or three people, and each group has a mentor who is an instructor of the course. Under the mentor's guidance, the students were assigned to develop a civic engagement project focusing on their community.

Naing Min Khant worked on a project called “Peace on the Table,” an interventive measure to reduce hatred among diverse religions in Myanmar with a peace feast and interactive workshop. The project aims to build durable peace among different religions in Myanmar by sharing a meal because eating in ritual contexts can reaffirm or transform relationships with one another, even if the people bring different religious ideas to the table, according to anthropological research.

“As suggested by my mentor, I intend to start my project from an individual level, like inviting friends from different religions to our house and sharing a meal where an individual can play an important role in peace-building,” he added. "After the course, I am confident in developing civic engagement projects systematically. Setting objectives, risk analysis, and consideration of the project's sustainability are applicable to civic engagement projects and my personal development. Therefore, I intend to apply that knowledge to community development and my academic life."

Students with diverse backgrounds from different countries participated in the course and brought different ideas to the classroom. Naing Min Khant expressed that interacting with classmates from diverse cultural backgrounds has broadened my understanding of global issues and provided me with new perspectives on social and civic challenges.

“It has been enlightening to hear firsthand accounts of the unique social, political, and economic issues faced by students from various regions around the world. This exposure to different viewpoints has helped me develop a more nuanced and comprehensive understanding of the complexities surrounding civic engagement and community leadership.”― Naing Min Khant, Parami University Class of 2026

During the summer break, some Parami students joined their Service Learning at the organization in their communities, while a few traveled abroad to attend the Get Engaged Summer Conference and joined the summer course at the universities in Parami University's network in Budapest, Hungary.

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