American Student Spreads Diversity Awareness Message

London– For Southeastern Louisiana University student, Ann O’Connor, speaking at the House of Lords is an opportunity to represent her university, as well as her country.

O’Connor was summoned last spring by the National Guard Bureau to train more than 450 EOC officers in the area of diversity before the officers were to be shipped overseas. She has trained officers from all 50 states. Not only does she continue to train officers, but she also speaks to their families. This specialized training brings awareness to the families so they can better understand what their loved ones are faced with while being in combat.

O’Connor learned a valuable asset while serving in the Military.  From 1996 to 2006, she lived in Saudi Arabia, where Americans and the American way of life are misunderstood.

O’Connor said, “I always tried to give a better face of Americans.”

After working with disabled Arab children through Princess Al Anoud’s charitable organization and a local private hospital, O’Connor was offered the position of Nursing Administrator; it afforded her the opportunity to experience how Arab people felt about Americans.

9/11 posed to be the apex of her mission to bring awareness of the importance of having diversity.  A man, whom she considered a friend, looked her in the face, and said, “You deserved this.”  Stunned, O’Connor knew she had to return back to the States to carry out her mission.

O’Connor believes if both Arabs and Westerners would learn to understand each other’s diverse cultures, the world would become a better place. This is why she continues to try to “give a better face of Americans” and promote the same message from the Saudi point of view.

She sees volunteering service to soldiers as a responsibility to her country that spans culture and boarders.

For O’Connor, she sees education as the greatest form of change for global peace. She intends to pursue a Ph.D. in organizational communication after completing her masters at Southeastern Louisiana University. She is the recipient of the Jefferson Award, an award started by Jackie Kennedy Onasis, from Fox 8 New Orleans TV news station.

Tomorrow, she will also be a “guest speaker”:http://www.selu.edu/news_media/news_releases/2010/july/grad_student.html at the House of Lords in London, England speaking on diversity. Although nervous about her presentation, O’Connor said she is excited to represent her university and her country.

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