We walked into a war zone. No, really – we did. Belfast, Northern Ireland. July 1998. DYNM 750. It was one of the most impactful experiences of my life…of our lives. It was three months after the fragile Good Friday peace accord had been signed, and just weeks before a bomb killed 29 people in nearby Omagh. Our class met with Catholics, Protestants, a former IRA member, Belfast City Hall staff, local business people trying to attract foreign investment, weary policemen, and so many others. Some encounters were scheduled, others spontaneous. Somewhat naively, we walked along the still-dangerous Falls Road through West Belfast, sensing both the unnerving tension and the emerging optimism brought about by a shaky ceasefire.
Organizational Dynamics opened up this whole new world to me via the international travel course option, and I’d encourage anyone who goes through the program to leverage the opportunity to experience the opening of similar doors for you when you take one of these learning journeys. You’ll spot business opportunities, recognize and assess risks, and understand others a bit better. All these years later, and I still think about it every day.
– Rich Farrelly