JCSU Hosts National Democratic Institute

September 3, 2012

President Ronald L. Carter speaks to international visitors participating in NDI’s programs

Photos from the luncheon.

As part of Johnson C. Smith University’s participation in events during the Democratic National Convention (DNC), the University partnered today with the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce to host a luncheon for 75 leaders from around the world who are members of the International Leaders Forum of the National Democratic Institute.

The foreign delegates represented current or former heads of state, ministers, and leaders in parliament, political parties and the D.C. - based diplomatic corps. Their DNC site visits to JCSU and other locations in Charlotte focused on the key areas of energy, education and health services. 

In his luncheon address to the foreign delegates, Johnson C. Smith University President Ronald L. Carter described the effects of the changing educational and political landscape on students, educators and the global economy. “Our students will not only have an intellectual awareness of the world but identify themselves as global citizens,” said Carter. The challenges we face today as a nation, Carter said, involve providing access to higher education for a student body that is becoming increasingly diverse and financially challenged. Citing a disturbing trend of rising costs of education in the midst of declining incomes, Carter said “we must not limit access to education, but open the door wide.” 

By 2015, the majority of the U.S. population will be people of color, Carter said. “We have experience in educating that one segment of the emerging majority.” Johnson C. Smith University joins the 125 Historically Black Universities across the country with a successful track record of serving 300,000 students a year. Educators need to help the new majority of students develop the vision and emotional strength required to succeed as well as provide the academic support services, scholarships and grants needed to graduate, Carter added. He cited financial support, particularly through Pell grants, as a critical factor in student retention and success. Pell grants, he said, have been at risk in this political campaign. With a 1,120 percent rise in college costs over the past 30 years, Pell grants today cover only 36 percent of college costs, compared to 77 percent in 1980. “The last cut in the Pell grants,” Carter noted, “could impact 62,000 to 100,000 students in the U.S.”  

The delegation continues its visit this week observing the convention proceedings and taking part in a series of bipartisan panel discussions on the U.S. political process, foreign and domestic policy issues, and media coverage defining the presidential election cycle.