MDP Program Director Dave Wilsey at the Salzburg Seminar

At a glance, any one week in a year differs little from another, like 52 boxes arranged on a (rather large) shelf. One would be challenged to speculate on each box’s specific content or to anticipate any meaningful differences between them. Measured solely in time, my week spent at the Salzburg Global Seminar was like any other: seven days, one-hundred sixty eight hours. Reach for that particular box, however, and you will find its contents more dense and complex than any other on the shelf, with each hour of each day filled with learning, sharing, and the forging of new professional and personal bonds. The hidden treasure of the Salzburg Seminar lies in this distortion of what might be reasonably be expected within a given measure of time.

I participated in Salzburg Session #566, which focused on social and emotional (SE) skills. My interest in the session emerged from the observation that the most successful graduate students in our masters of development practice (MDP) degree program are endowed with these skills and draw heavily upon them in the classroom and especially in the field. I hoped that the Salzburg Seminar would help me to better understand how these skills relate to student success and, perhaps more practically, might help me to envision a curriculum more intentionally designed to develop them. The session did not disappoint! I left Salzburg mentally invigorated (though physically drained) and bolstered by new knowledge, connections between disciplines and a rich network of international and interdisciplinary professionals. The new year brings with it a conversation about the MDP curriculum and, as our program team embarks, I feel confident that it will be greatly enriched by my Salzburg experience.

Included below is a picture of Salzburg at sunrise. The Seminar takes place in the large building in the bottom right quadrant of the photo.

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