Lynn Blanchard Leads Civic Education Workshop in the Philippines
UNC Global Affairs
Lynn Blanchard. Director of Carolina Center for Public Service. (Jon Gardiner/UNC-Chapel Hill)
Throughout Lynn Blanchard’s more than 20 years at UNC-Chapel Hill, she has connected people across campus and the state of North Carolina for civic good. And last July, she brought her expertise to the Philippines to teach Southeast Asian civic leaders how to impact in their communities.
Blanchard, director of the Carolina Center for Public Service, co-led a four-day workshop entitled “Civic Education for Good Governance,” in Manila, the Philippines capital.
The workshop was organized by Cultural Vistas, a nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C., with the goal of using civic education to promote civic participation, good governance and transparency and accountability in government in Southeast Asia. Blanchard was invited to lead the session because of her extensive knowledge in project-based learning and civic engagement.
“I would have never described myself as having had much of a global or international profile,” said Blanchard. “But the workshop experience underscored that we can approach things with some commonality that does, in fact, connect us all in some way.”
The workshop brought together approximately 80 leaders who are part of the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI). Funded by the U.S. Department of State, YSEALI builds the leadership capabilities of youth in Southeast Asian nations and promotes cross-border cooperation to solve regional and global challenges.
Blanchard’s goal for the workshop was for participants to develop a deep understanding of how their efforts can promote citizen engagement in their home communities, nations and across Southeast Asia. She taught project-based learning as a means to engage an array of community stakeholders.
Blanchard also aimed for the participants to learn about the value of collaboration across country borders.
“I think part of the intention is connecting cross-culturally among various groups that you might not have any chance to otherwise, and finding commonalities with people that you think might be very different than yourself,” said Blanchard.
Dan Ewert, senior vice president of program research, partnerships and innovation at Cultural Vistas, praised Blanchard for her leadership in the workshop.
“Her enthusiasm for teaching, experiential learning and project-based learning is infectious, and I feel as though the participants were inspired to incorporate some of her ideas into their work throughout Southeast Asia,” he said. “She is approachable, engaging and committed to helping young people take a more inclusive approach in their perspectives and in their work.”
Blanchard’s work at the Carolina Center for Public Service aligns with the workshop’s goals: engaging a range of stakeholders and maximizing resources to address community challenges.
“Here at Carolina, public service is inextricably linked to teaching, research and service,” said Blanchard. “We are really a center that exists to connect Carolina to the community and build the capacity of the University to partner and meet shared concerns.”
Heather Ward, associate provost for global affairs, connected Blanchard to Cultural Vistas. She said that exchange programs like the one Blanchard joined in Manila, and others that bring international visitors to Carolina, are part of the University’s overall global strategy.
“The vast expertise of Carolina faculty like Lynn Blanchard is a great benefit to the state of North Carolina, and it’s also a benefit to societies worldwide facing similar challenges,” said Ward. “It’s exciting to connect Carolina experts like Lynn with global partners, and we all stand to gain from that exchange of knowledge and experience.”
The Office of the Vice Provost for Global Affairs facilitates externally funded academic and professional exchange programs that draw on the expertise of the Carolina community. To other Carolina faculty members, Blanchard offered this advice:
“As someone who has not traveled much internationally, don’t turn down a chance,” said Blanchard. “Take advantage of global opportunities.”
Blanchard believes that global engagement is significant to public service work in North Carolina.
“Almost anywhere you are, there’s some level of global connection,” she said. “I think understanding the array of backgrounds and cultures that are part of who we are, and are strengths of who we are, is important.”
For more information about exchange programs organized through OVPGA, contact Tim Rose, associate director of exchange and sponsored programs, firstname.lastname@example.org.
March 13, 2023