Announcing the winners of the Mark M. Welter World Citizen Award

Minnesota State College and University faculty have nominated 20 students who are well-deserving to receive the Mark M. Welter World Citizen Award.  Each student will receive the $500 Mark M. Welter World Citizen Award for 2022 Spring Semester.

  • Nele Ortega, Alexandria Technical and Community College
  • Anna Karina Kawai Gaona, Anoka Ramsey Community College
  • Anthony McFarlane, Anoka Technical College
  • Bentinah Ouko, Dakota County Technical College
  • Nuredin Kawo, Hennepin Technical College
  • Ziaullah Qazizada, Metropolitan State University
  • Basir Tayalee, Minneapolis College
  • Chelsea Birasa, Minnesota State Community and Technical College
  • Nicole Colon, Minnesota State University Moorhead
  • Seth Thielges, Normandale Community College
  • Pablo Aguilar, North Hennepin Community College
  • Hailey Barth, Northland Community and Technical College
  • Olha Finnelly, Northwest Technical College
  • Jorge Lagunes, Pine Technical and Community College
  • John-Michael Gonzalez, Rainy River Community College
  • Stee Na Moo, Ridgewater College
  • Faith Jameson, South Central College
  • Chidinma Ikwunze, Southwest Minnesota State University
  • Andrew Lo, St. Cloud State University
  • Kesley Ebbs, Vermilion Community College
  • Monica De Leon-Sanchez, Winona State University

These students were nominated because they shared some of the same beliefs and commitments as Dr. Mark M. Welter.  Some of these beliefs were that the world shares common problems (pollution, terrorism, challenges) but views them through differing cultural and religious value perspectives; they believe that all people-all cultures, all creeds, all colors, and all countries-have been “depositors and with drawers at the world bank of knowledge;” and that our world is increasingly, inexorably, and undeniably interdependent. 

Here are several excerpts taken from the nominators’ explanations of why they felt the student was deserving to receive this award:

Andrew embodies the understanding of the interconnectedness of the world in both conceptualization and action. He has excelled in both theory and praxis of intercultural communication under my tutelage. He demonstrates ability to engage with musings of world/global citizenship with clarity and is concerned about problems posing uncertain future for the youth. His interest in world languages and cultures is an avenue to learn and uncover values embedded in indigenous knowledge to address problems of our times. He believes that ‘modernity’ and ‘traditions’ do not necessarily have to be in opposition with each other in addressing world problems. His view of how to expand our horizons and acknowledge diversity in the world is insightful. Andrew's response to what his role will look like in the future into addressing the uncertain future is: “Overall, to face the uncertain future, we, as humans, have a duty to look, listen, and learn from those near and far from us because it is only through our collective knowledge that we can rectify these issues moving forward”.

Hailey is passionate often claiming, “We all share this responsibility,” as she discusses the need to both clean up beaches and ditches, but also use and promote eco-friendly alternatives to plastic. She exemplifies advocacy and action by recognizing the difference even a single person can make to improve our fragile biosphere. Whether connecting with global friends from International Music Camp, or addressing issues as a member of Family, Careers, & Community Leaders of America (FCCLA), Hailey values the differing views that can work together to promote sustainability. “Together we can fix the issues, but we cannot work together without discussing ideas unlike our own.” Citing technology and our interconnected world, Hailey believes that the only way to make meaningful change is by working as a global people valuing each other’s strengths and admitting weaknesses. Hailey looks to spread awareness to the issues that impact us globally. “Medical care, poverty, and the worldwide issue of sex trafficking need to be known; we need to be educated on these issues to work out solutions.”

Anna is keenly aware of the interconnectedness of the world and its citizens. She demonstrates this by her collaborative and team approach to daily tasks within the leadership of the Alpha Delta Alpha chapter of Phi Theta Kappa Honors Society. She spearheaded a service project to spread awareness on campus regarding climate change through a tax on carbon; the goal of this project was to educate students on the global implications and benefits.