Graduate study is an opportunity for students to enhance their understanding of their discipline. As part of their journey, UNC Charlotte graduate students develop and strengthen the skills necessary to become leaders and innovators, not only in their fields but in their communities.
Using advanced education to help others is the focus of Rye Barcott’s Graduate Student Orientation keynote speech, which is part of orientation for new graduate students. The event begins at 1:00 PM, Saturday, Aug. 20, in the Cone University Center, McKnight Auditorium.
Entrepreneur, author, combat Marine and peacemaker, Barcott will discuss the importance of graduate education as a means of making a difference in the world. Currently a resident of Charlotte and a commercial associate with Duke Energy, Barcott co-founded Carolina for Kibera as a student at UNC-Chapel Hill. He started the organization with $26, embracing the idea that with the right kind of support, people, even in the most desperate of situations, can take charge of their lives and change their communities. Kenya’s Kibera slum is one of the poorest in Africa. Today, Carolina for Kibera has helped more than 250,000 people, many who live on $2 a day.
A former Marine intelligence officer, Barcott served in Iraq, Bosnia and the Horn of Africa. He authored “It Happened on the Way to War: A Marine’s Path to Peace” in which he recounts his experiences building and learning from leaders in unlikely places – from the Kibera slum of Nairobi, Kenya, to the bomb-strewn streets of Fallujah and beyond. Amidst war zones and political and economic unrest, Barcott discovered how small groups from various cultures, backgrounds and educational levels can make a difference in the lives of others.
Following his military service, Barcott earned master’s degrees in business and public administration from Harvard University, where he was a Reynolds Social Entrepreneurship Fellow. He is a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader, joining other distinguished individuals, such as Alexandra Cousteau, Leonardo DiCaprio and Mark Zuckerberg. The World Economic Forum is an “international organization committed to improving the state of the world by engaging business, political, academic and other leaders of society to shape global, regional and industry agendas.”
Besides welcoming new graduate students to UNC Charlotte, Barcott will encourage them to move beyond their comfort zone to take action. While Barcott’s presentation is free and open to the public, graduate students should register to attend. He will sign copies of his book afterward in the Center for Graduate Life.