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SU Student Earns Bosserman UNESCO Fellowship

Nate SansomSALISBURY, MD---The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) again has welcomed a Salisbury University student to its Paris headquarters.

Nate Sansom, an Honors College sophomore majoring in conflict analysis and dispute resolution and political science, has received the Bosserman UNESCO Fellowship. The fellowship is named for the late Dr. Phil Bosserman, founder of SU’s Bosserman Center for Conflict Resolution.

Sansom is abroad assisting the Youth and Sports Division of UNESCO’s Social and Human Sciences Sector until mid-July. His area of focus has been on “youth and the prevention of violent extremism.”

“Right now, I am reviewing project proposals that would help target youth in at-risk areas,” he said. “The goal is to develop programming that will use sports to reach out to them, along with educational civic engagement workshops to help mitigate the risk of them becoming susceptible to extremist ideologies.”

Sansom added:  “Many don’t recognize all that UNESCO does. What I enjoy most about working here is the opportunity to be a part of something greater than myself. I am able to work on projects and initiatives that are making a meaningful impact in the lives of youth all over the world.”

Dr. Brian Polkinghorn, director of SU’s Bosserman Center, said Dr. Mark Brennan, UNESCO chair and Penn State professor, helped start the fellowship last year.

“Twenty-six years ago, Mark was a student at SU,” Polkinghorn said. “Phil was a mentor who had a tremendous impact on Mark. Naming this fellowship after Phil is Mark’s way of paying tribute to his friend and mentor.” 

For Sansom, receiving the fellowship was particularly meaningful because he knew “Miss Carol” (Bosserman’s wife) from his volunteer work at an assisted living facility in Salisbury. He was able to tell her about receiving the fellowship before she passed away in December. He said: “It was a neat moment. I hope to continue the legacy of her and her husband.”

Sansom is a 2017 graduate of Salisbury Christian School. At SU, he is minoring in international studies. He said his passion for international relations, diplomacy and public service began to grow when he interned in the Salisbury Mayor’s Office and helped facilitate its most recent Sister City agreement with Salinas, Ecuador. In addition to the Honors College and Bosserman Center, he said SU’s Nationally Competitive Fellowships Office and Center for International Education have provided him support.  

“Ten UNESCO Fellowships are awarded to students around the country, including up to two from SU’s Bosserman Center in honor of Phil and Carol Bosserman,” said  Polkinghorn. “Upon successful completion of the fellowship in Paris, SU alumni of the program go on to become Bosserman UNESCO Ambassadors.” SU students Dana Day and Harrison Leon were inaugural recipients last winter.  

UNESCO aims to create dialogue among civilizations, cultures and peoples to achieve sustainable development, human rights, mutual respect and poverty alleviation.  

For more information call 410-543-6030 or visit the SU website.