Fostering Compassionate Alliances for the Betterment of Humanity: Building Stronger International Partnerships between Business Schools, Students, the Community, and Non-Profit Organizations

By Wanda V. Chaves and Kushil Gunasekara.

Published by The Sustainability Collection

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Article: Electronic $US5.00

This paper discusses the design and implementation of a humanitarian project for business students that was developed through a close alliance between the Foundation of Goodness in Sri Lanka and a university professor in the U.S. to address the significant need: (1) to educate and develop leaders who are compassionate about the needs of others less fortunate around the world and (2) to bring students and community leaders together immediately in supporting and expanding the work of international humanitarian non-profit organizations. The joint project was possible due to the strong partnership that emerged as a result of the meeting of the two authors at the 3rd International Conference on Environmental, Social, Economic, and Cultural Sustainability in Chennai, India. The students in three undergraduate Global Organization Behavior courses and one MBA International Management course worked in teams to educate community members on the work of the Foundation of Goodness and to find support for the Foundation of Goodness’ International Village Heartbeat Project. The primary aim of the Foundation’s project is to eradicate poverty by building Village Heartbeat centers which will provide educational opportunities, English and computer classes, a library, youth and women empowerment programs, children and youth skill development projects, village environment and improvement projects, children goodness clubs, volunteer expertise programs and volunteer accommodation cottage, and spiritual training to enrich the quality of life of the children and community members in remote villages. As a result of the inspirational work of the Foundation, students were able to educate and speak with over 350 members of the community, both individuals and organizations, and successfully raise funds and obtain computer donations to support the Village Heartbeat Project and to improve the lives of countless individuals who currently have very little to no access to such critical personal and community developmental opportunities.

Keywords: Business and NGO Partnerships, Management Education, Leadership Development, MBA, Business School Curriculum, Economic Social Cultural Sustainability

The International Journal of Environmental, Cultural, Economic and Social Sustainability, Volume 4, Issue 2, pp.19-26. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 820.145KB).

Dr. Wanda V. Chaves

Assistant Professor, Management Department, College of Business, University of Tampa, Tampa, Florida, USA

Wanda V. Chaves, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor of Management at the University of Tampa where she teaches leadership, international management, human resource management, and organizational behavior. Wanda received her doctoral degree in Industrial/Organizational Psychology with a minor in cross-cultural studies and foreign languages from the University of South Florida. Her work experience includes training, teaching, and consulting within the Training and Development and the Organization and Executive Development departments at the Walt Disney World Company as well as an external consultant for a variety of organizations across different industries.Wanda has also recently established an organization called The CREO Institute to teach creativity workshops across a variery of cities around the globe and to work with international non-profit organization to find creative solutions to some of our world's most pressing problems.

Kushil Gunasekara

Founder, Foundation of Goodness, Colombo, Sri Lanka

As a young boy growing up in the small coastal village of Seenigama in South West Sri Lanka, Kushil Gunasekera felt extremely lucky and privileged that he had the access to a good education through a reputable school (Ananda College) in Colombo whilst many friends weren't so fortunate. He vowed to himself that one day he would devote his time, energy and money towards assisting the people of his region so that they too could live meaningfully and purposefully with equal opportunities to excel in life. And he did. On 3rd March 1999, Kushil Gunasekera realised his life-long dream and established the Foundation of Goodness. Now a registered Sri Lankan non-governmental organisation (NGO) and a highly reputable force in the region, the Foundation has been active in the community of Seenigama and more than 25 surrounding villages for over the last seven years. During his college years, Kushil struggled academically and was more interested in playing cricket. However, the quality of compassion that developed within the heart of this young man was more than a life of academia could ever teach. Whilst Kushil did not attend university, he was the Secretary of the first ever under-19 Cricket World Cup in Sri Lanka as well as the Secretary of the governing body for cricket in Sri Lanka during 2000 and 2001, and the Chairman of the two organising committees at the Sri Lanka Cricket Board. More recently, he has inspired many throughout the globe via the development of a rural community model designed for other regions and disadvantaged communities to follow. Kushil Gunasekera has committed himself to humanitarian service and community development for at least the past 15 years. He is presently engaged in managing four charities - the Foundation of Goodness, the Muralidaran, Vaas and Gunasekera Foundation (MVGF), and a scholarship fund for 500 children of diseased soldiers - all of which are committed to enriching the quality of life. As a member of Rotary International for over 12 years, Kushil received the Ten Outstanding Young Persons (TOYP) award from Jaycees International for voluntary humanitarian service in 1993, the Best Club, President's and Community Service Director awards from Rotary International District 3220 in 1990 and 1991 and the Rotary Centennial Service Award for Professional Excellence in 2005. Since the tragic Boxing Day tsunami in 2004, Kushil has surfed a 'Golden Wave’ that has taken him to many corners of the world, including a visit to Buckingham Palace to discuss tsunami relief issues. Most recently, Kushil visited the Pentagon, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and USAID, through the International Visitors Leadership Programme sponsored by the US Government. To this day, Kushil has retained his strong ties to the world of cricket and remains the manager of famous Sri Lankan bowler and the highest wicket taker in both forms of the game in the history of cricket, Mr Muttiah Muralidaran.

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