A woman of the world, Dr. Yetunde A. Odugbesan-Omede nevertheless believes the seeds of global awareness are sown in community soils. “It’s important to have local roots and a global reach,” she said.
As Acting Director of the Office of Community and Civic Engagement and Professor of Global Affairs and Politics, Odugbesan-Omede urges students and other people to get involved in their communities, but to not stop there; she wants them to realize that issues affecting local communities are the same issues that affect people around the globe. “It is our responsibility to develop the next generation of transformational leaders who will be equipped to solve some of the most pressing global issues of our time," she said.
A lecturer, author, consultant, and entrepreneur as well as an academic, Odugbesan-Omede teaches courses on comparative politics, global politics, African politics, imperialism, American foreign policy, and women in comparative political development at FSC. But more than that, she encourages her career-focused students to look at what is going on beyond the borders of FSC’s campus, Long Island’s shores, and the country.
“We’re preparing them for the world we live in and we want them to understand civic engagement and public service,” explained Odugbesan-Omede. “While many of the students are local, it is still important for them to be globally ready. It is imperative for students to understand politics and the global roles they will have to play. They have to be prepared to work in a global world. There is so much to build on here.”
still important for them to be globally-ready.
One way to help get them ready is to weave a global component into most, if not all, courses. “In every single major you can connect globally,” she said. “Corporations are global. We are seeing corporations, technology, and cybersecurity—all are industries with no boundaries. It is seeing the connection between local and global.”
As the CEO of Yetunde Global Consulting, Odugbesan-Omede focuses on human capital management, leadership development and training, organizational management, and global business strategies. She also tells students that wherever they go, they should ask themselves how they can do the most good. “I try to give [students] the idea of how to move the needle.” She has been moving her own—and other people's—needles for decades.
The daughter of Nigerian immigrants, Odugbesan-Omede went on to research corruption in African countries. Many Nigerian parents are extremely focused on education and encourage their children to pursue law, medicine, or engineering. She was fortunate that hers took a broader view. “My parents said, ‘Do what you want, just be the best at it.’”
The amount of knowledge and experience she brings to FSC is staggering. She earned master’s and doctoral degrees in Global Affairs from Rutgers and studied at other universities and institutions, including Harvard University, and received a Fulbright under the Fulbright Specialist Program. Odugbesan-Omede also has taught leadership seminars for young women in Nigeria, South Africa, and the US through an organization she started, Young Woman’s Guide, Inc. She also authored a book with the same title for women who could not attend programs in person. The program provides young women worldwide with “holistic leadership development.” And she has a huge collection of podcasts, many focusing on balancing different personal and professional aspects of life.
Odugbesan-Omede’s most recent book, Balance, also offers guidance on juggling life, work, and family, at which she excels; she is married and the mother of three children. Balance is something she wants for her students as well. “For me, it’s about building well-rounded students. That will make them more competitive.”
Doing what she can to help students succeed remains a priority. “It’s been a thing for me; I want to see other young people find a way. I had people help me. I want to pay it forward.”