Intercultural Leadership Seminar

The Intercultural Leadership Seminar (ILS) is designed for international and U.S. students who want to learn how to be more effective in a global environment. ILS includes brief lectures, discussion, experiential activities, and small group work. While at ILS you will:

  • Increase your awareness of the impact of culture on communication styles;
  • Gain skills necessary for effective intercultural communication;
  • Discover your own leadership potential; and
  • Develop and enhance your intercultural competence.

Date, Time and Location

ILS will be held on Monday, February 27, 9am-6pm, Anderson ABCD, Michigan Union (1st floor). The program curriculum has been designed with the expectation that participants will attend its entire program. Attendance is free.


Current students enrolled at U-M are eligible to apply. International scholars and alumni who have already graduated are not eligible to apply. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis and acceptance priority will be given to students who have not attended ILS previously. Submit the application by Monday, February 20 at 5pm. 

Questions? Contact the International Center at


ILS Participants' Reflections

Praveen"In the current day and age of technology, where it is evident that we interact with people from various parts of globe, it is evident that interpersonal and intercultural communication skills are of utmost importance to succeed in any project we undertake. The Intercultural Leadership Seminar (ILS) provided a great insight into aspects of intercultural communication, which we often tend to ignore or notice. It also provided a platform where I could several like-minded people with same desire and passion to learn. Several people whom I met here are good friends even now. We had an opportunity to share our viewpoints with each other on several topics which we discussed over the two days, which provided a gateway of understanding how differently people perceive the information shared. My personal goal from the ILS would be to implement the various skills that I acquired and be a more effective communicator."

Praveen Varma Bhupathiraju (College of Engineering graduate student)


Rhonda"The Intercultural Leadership Seminar (ILS) was one of my most valuable lessons I have experienced while in graduate school. Before ILS, I did not understand how to overcome communication barriers and would often feel self-conscious. The ILS seminar gave me relevant, tangible solutions to overcoming communication barriers which ultimately increased my cultural competence and my overall confidence. I really enjoyed learning about the diversity in cultural communication across the world! Verbal/Nonverbal communication is so imperative to creating and sustaining relationships both in a personal and professional context. ILS created the perfect forum to get to know students across all academic disciplines within the University of Michigan. I came away from this experience with new friends from a diverse array of nationalities. I enjoyed the steep depth of conversations and appreciate the staff's intentional efforts to help me understand the importance of cultural communication and competence."

Rhonda Bishop (Ford School of Public Policy graduate student)


Missy"The Intercultural Leadership Seminar (ILS) was a great opportunity to engage in my continuing learning process around intercultural communication. I have been exploring intercultural communication - personally and professionally - for nearly a decade and found this thoughtful seminar to be valuable as an opportunity for concentrated reflection and processing within articulated frameworks. I was impressed with how this seminar balanced a spectrum of experiences and backgrounds creating a space for personal growth with collective support. Intercultural communication and leadership development is a lifelong process. No matter where you are in the process, I highly recommend the Intercultural Leadership Seminar. Engage for the first time, re-engage after academic or international experience, or challenge your perceptions on what you think you already know; and, make friends while you're at it!"

Missy! Orr (School of Social Work graduate student)


Cheryl"Most of us assume we are great communicators, but the matter of fact is that many of us aren’t. Globalization further challenges leaders to convey our message effectively in an intercultural environment. The Intercultural Leadership Seminar (ILS) was an intensive yet absolutely rewarding experience. I identified my leadership strengths and weakness to help me navigate in a culturally diverse environment. Perhaps, the one aspect I enjoyed most about ILS is the fact that I am surrounded by proactive learners who hail from all over the world. Being a non-traditional student, I place equal emphasis on both education and real world experience. What you learn from your book can only bring you so far. I learn so much more by interacting with people from different generations, field of interests, and culture. If you aspire to become a competent leader in the international arena, start off on the right foot with the ILS!"

Chery Tan (LS&A undergraduate student)


Additional Quotes from the Former Participants:

"I really enjoyed interacting with other participants... It is rare to be in environment where people are open so quickly…I realized how often I stay in my comfort zone and how I must miss so many opportunities to interact with people and grow."

"I've been thinking a lot about my vision for life but was struggling to generate a statement and this was spot on. Thanks for this!"

"It provides us with an opportunity for introspection and actually works on aspects of our personality that we expect from others. The tips provided for the critical moment dialogue are very helpful and i personally believe that i could use them in several situations to great effect."

"I think this was obviously a very thoughtful seminar. Despite my familiarity and experience with the subject I still felt like it was valuable and provides me concentrated time to reflect within a useful framework. Thank you for your time offering this opportunity!"