Two Jaspers at the Lasallian International Development Program for Student Leaders

By Carlos Pinto-Corredor, Contributor

Jazi Riley ‘25 and Kayla Reyes ‘25 are the two Manhattan College fellows participating in the 2022 Lasallian International Development Program for Student Leaders run by the International Association of Lasallian Universities (IALU).

Jazi Riley is a political science major and is the Student Government Association freshman class representative. Kayla Reyes is a computer engineering student. Both students belong to the Manhattan College Emerging Leaders Programs that encouraged and nominated them as the college’s representatives in the international experience. 

Since the first week of March, 70 students from 34 of the 64 Lasallian universities around the world have advanced in seven sessions of multidisciplinary leadership training. Previous versions of the program have been held at Lasallian universities in Brazil, France, Mexico, Spain, the United States and at De La Salle’s headquarters in Rome, Italy. However, due to the ongoing pandemic, the tenth edition of the program went virtual. 

Riley and Reyes are part of this select group reflecting together as a Lasallian international community, and analyzing the challenges of global development as global citizens. They joined participants from 14 different countries who are leaders in their own campuses, from different disciplines, different advocacies, diverse contexts, religions and cultures but with the same sense of commitment and dedication.

“In the past few weeks throughout our sessions, I have learned from incredible leaders and student leaders who have been an exemplary guide of what it means to be a Lasallian leader. Lasallian values are for all people, it is respect, inclusivity, and doing good for those around you and the world,” Riley said.

According to Diana Loera, associate director of IALU, the most important thing is that the students are able to identify themselves as Lasallians in an international, multicultural, and diverse community. 

“The program aims to highlight the difference that Lasallian principles and values make in our leaders and how they make a difference with their important impact on communities around the world,” Loera said.  

The development program offers the students training in communication, multiculturalism, empathy, adaptability, while developing a sense of Lasallian identity and leadership. 

“Introducing our students to St. John Baptist De La Salle as a Leader who made a difference and continues to impact our communities, encouraging us to work for those most in need and those who suffer injustice, is always inspiring,” Loera said.

A better understanding of other cultures and nationalities motivates students to share their perspectives on the needs and social problems of the globalized world. It also allows participants to reflect on their personal leadership talents while making connections with their peers. 

“Over these past sessions, I’ve learned the principles and standards for not only Lasallian development but the development of being a true leader as a whole, as well as the variety of people in leadership. This development program has allowed me to find new ways I could be a leader in programs, life, along with how I can follow in others’ footsteps to better the world,” Reyes said. 

In addition, the program allows participants to attend sessions with renowned experts and representatives from various Lasallian institutions and organizations around the world. Past and recent versions of the program have included the participation of Manhattan College’s Vice President for Mission, Brother Jack Curran, Professor Dr. Pamela Chasek and Hayden Green, Director of the Multicultural Center.

“I’m sure that by participating in this International Student Leadership program, both Jazi and Kayla, who are already demonstrating significant leadership skills, will further deepen their Lasallian identity by virtue of their participating with more than 60 other Lasallian university students from around the globe,” Curran said. “With the focus of this Lasallian Leadership Program on addressing justice issues associated with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, Kayla, Jazi and the other Lasallian university students will more confidently lead our Manhattan College community in our efforts to advance the common good.”

The experience for Riley and Reyes will end on May 12 with the creation of potential projects addressing the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals from a Lasallian cooperative and global perspective.