Bates was the diving board for global citizen Alyson Ewald ’90

For Alyson Ewald ’90, Bates was like a diving board, and her pool was Olympic-size — the globe, into which she dived deep.

“And I’m still diving,” she says.

Alyson Ewald '90 (center) and Michelle Ladonne '09 (right) listen as Daniel Bousquet '08 makes a point during the "Global Citizenship" panel discussion on Oct. 27. Photograph by Phyllis Graber Jensen.

As a student, Ewald studied in Florence and London. Then she decided that she wanted a “new language with a new alphabet,” so she learned Russian during a senior year stint in the Russian city of Orel.

For much of the next decade Ewald lived in Russia, Ukraine, Hungary and Croatia, working with NGOs and activist groups. She discovered that she was “good at helping people from different countries understand each other and cooperate toward a common goal.” In 2005, she cofounded Red Earth Farms, a cooperative community located on 76 acres in northeast Missouri, where she now lives with her family.

Ewald was part of the panel discussion “Global Citizenship” during Open to the World, a series of events celebrating the dedication of Hedge and Roger Williams halls Oct. 24 through 27. With Michelle Ladonne ’09, David Miller ’08 and Daniel Bousquet ’09, she offered thoughts about becoming a citizen of the world:

  • “I like to tell people that the best thing about Bates was that they gave me money to go away. This isn’t entirely true, of course, because there were many amazing things about my Bates experience. But I could never have lived and studied abroad if it hadn’t been for financial aid. My entire career depended on the loans and grants I received from Bates so that I could spend my junior year and my senior short term studying abroad.”
  • “In my last month at Bates, I went to Russia for Short Term. That was when I planted my feet on the board and gathered all the potential that we’d been building together in order to launch into my life of working internationally. And I’m still diving.”
  • “Try to get out of debt as soon as possible. If you’re out already, stay out. This allows you to be more mobile and more responsive both to the needs of the world around you and to your own inner needs.”
  • “You are a precious natural resource and you are in extremely short supply. In fact, there is only one of you left. Take care of yourself. Find community to support you. Respect yourself.”
  • “Pay attention to what is happening around you. Pay attention to what is happening within you. What makes your heart pound? In his poem ‘The Maintenance of Awe,’ Bates poet Robert Farnsworth writes about gazing at the Babson World Globe as a child, and how the sphere ‘made my insides mutter and sing.’ What makes your insides mutter and sing? Pay attention — because that is important information.”
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