Photo by Bruce Gilbert
Richard Bailey came to Fordham University because he wanted a university that would not only give him a world-class education, but also an education about the world, he said. The political science major and Latin American studies minor made the globe his classroom, supplementing his course work with a service trip to El Salvador and a semester abroad in Cuba.
“It was incredible,” said the Mendham, N.J., native of his months at the University of Havana School of International Training. “It was a chance for me to understand, firsthand, issues like urban development and human rights that I could not get in a classroom.”
Fordham’s popular summer program in Cuba, which afforded students opportunities to explore the culture, economics and history of that country, fell victim to new federal travel restrictions last year and was canceled. However, Fordham provides students with plenty of other occasions to put classroom lessons into practice through its Global Outreach (GO) program, which sends more than 275 students a year on some 22 service projects in the United States and abroad, in countries including India, Mexico, Jamaica, Nicaragua and Romania.
“I like the Jesuit tradition of service,” said the Fordham College at Lincoln Center student. “Fordham’s dedication to service and its curriculum demonstrate the Jesuits’ commitment to action in addition to learning.”
Bailey’s GO trip to El Salvador during his freshman year cinched his commitment to serving others and his interest in politics and Latin American studies. He also participated in GO trips to Pennsylvania, Florida, South Dakota, Colorado and Montana, where he built homes with Habitat for Humanity, staged boycotts on behalf of day laborers, worked on the Lakota Indian Reservation and helped provide services for the homeless. During his senior year, Bailey served as a co-president for GO and worked as a volunteer Spanish tutor.
“Richie is a very in-tune, sensitive and caring individual,” said Diane Carter, director of Lincoln Center’s Global Outreach program. “He really has a heart for not just himself, but the greater world.”
After graduation, Bailey, 22, will conduct research on emerging world conflicts and attend the general assembly at the United Nations as a program assistant at the Quaker United Nations Office (QUNO), a non-governmental organization that supports the U.N.’s efforts to address human rights violations and promote social justice.
“What the QUNO does is bring together a lot of different world views to discuss issues and conflicts, and develop peaceful resolutions away from the politics of the United Nations,” Bailey said. “What Fordham, and Global Outreach in particular, has given me is the ability to talk to people of diverse backgrounds, experiences and cultures. ... What I experienced here made me want to commit to serving others in my career.”