Global Responsibility - Taking it Personally

Posted by Paula Paine on April 30, 2014 in "Your OU" Most often practiced in a corporate setting, global responsibility refers to a managerial mindset for implementing policies that improve a company’s performance while also increasing its positive contribution to the environment and society. 
But what if you’re just one person, without the resources or backing of a corporation, who understands that you should play an active role in improving the conditions of society – that it is your personal responsibility to affect change for disenfranchised people around the world? What does global responsibility look like then? Osee-photo.jpg
It looks very much like Osee Romeo Lieberman.
Growing up, living and working on the world stage - France, Cameroon, Spain, Gabon, the Netherlands, Germany, the U.S. – Lieberman had ample opportunity to witness the disparity between the “haves” and the “have-nots,” and realized that it is often a matter of one person taking action that helps to bridge the gap.
So he determined to be that person. His goal, however, was not so much with securing material goods for the “have-nots,” but in providing them with long-term resources needed for shaping a brighter future - like opportunity, human rights, education, and hope.
To be a part of the solution, Lieberman first began by volunteering. He supported orphans and underprivileged children through the “Diamond Project;” served through the United Nations Development Program in Bolivia and Pakistan; assisted with Competences Solidaires (technology transfer) in France; raised funds for UNICEF; and volunteered in hospitals, retirement communities, homeless shelters, and disabled youth centers. He continues many of these efforts today.
In 2005, Lieberman decided to go beyond part-time volunteering by joining United Planet, a Boston-based international non-profit that coordinates volunteer programs in more than 35 countries by fostering cross-cultural understanding, addressing shared challenges and providing vital services to communities in need.
As West Africa project manager, Lieberman implemented local community development initiatives and helped establish organizational policies and procedures. During his three years with United Planet, he coordinated youth entrepreneurship activities; founded a center that offered free training to young people in rural areas of the Cameroon; co-founded in France a Youth Association articulated into the Rights of the Child; successfully launched educational and training workshops in Cameroon and the Gambia; designed and established the EcoVillage Rosa project for eco-buildings, training, and environmental monitoring on climate change in Cameroon; and revitalized capacity building programs in Gabon and The Gambia under the supervision of the Ministry of Youths.
With a resume like that, Lieberman’s work soon began to be noticed, and he received invitations to lecture in universities, governmental agencies and organizations in Africa, Europe and eventually the U.S. He also received a number of awards in recognition of his global leadership (see below).
In 2009, Lieberman was invited by Arizona State University (ASU) to serve as an adjunct psychology professor in Phoenix. He then became assistant director of the University Community Partnership for Social Action Research network (UPC-SARnet), an ASU organization of 1,600+ students, university faculty members, community activists, and governmental officials engaged in achieving the United Nations Millennium Development Goals in 75 countries. 
This role aligned perfectly with Lieberman’s sense of global and personal responsibility, and he continued his track record of making a difference through several significant projects, including entrepreneurial and educational training workshops in Africa and Asia; Stand Up events against poverty in The Gambia; government engagement in various countries for project implementation; development of the ASU course “Multicultural Perspective on Community Leadership;” and the collection of 2000 college books and 400 computers for educational projects in developing countries.
So where does Ottawa University fit into Lieberman’s story? Though he held a bachelor’s degree from the University of Douala in Cameroon, he also desired to hold a degree from an American university. His colleagues as ASU recommended he investigate Ottawa University due to OU’s liberal transfer policy and the low faculty/student ratio. He received his Bachelor of Arts in both Business Administration and Management during OU-Arizona’s commencement on April 25, 2014.
Lieberman’s initial goal was to complete his degree as quickly as possible so he could get his MBA from ASU; however, he was so pleased with his experience that he enrolled in Ottawa University’s MBA program instead.
“I knew right away that Ottawa University was driven by its ethics and values,” said Lieberman. “The teaching style is very unique, and the teachers are there because they want to make a difference in students’ lives and teach them how they can make a difference in society. I could see and hear it in their teaching. It was not about profit.
“Another thing that made an impression on me was how the instruction was based on real life. The projects required searching out information beyond the classroom and using the best books for learning – not only those written by the university’s professors. I was given a greater capacity for learning for a lifetime, not simply to complete my courses.”
For investing in his education and in him as a person, Lieberman is eager to say a big “Thank you” to Ottawa University – in all 13 languages that he speaks. Once he earns his MBA, his gift for language will likely play an important part in his future of again serving the public in some way, whether in a diplomatic capacity with the United Nations, affecting policy to improve opportunities for youth in developing countries, creating his own organization, or in some other role.
“Too often we think that someone else will do the work that needs to be done,” says Lieberman. “We each need to be the Good Samaritan – the one who stops, has compassion and helps someone in need. It is my duty to do anything I can to provide inspiration, opportunity and hope to others. My goal is to work hard. My salary will be the smile on a child’s face and their hope for a brighter future.”


Pictured Above: 

His Excellency Adoum Garoua, Minister of State for Youth Affairs in Cameroon (center) met with Dr. Marek Wosinski (right) and Osee Romeo Lieberman (left) in 2004 to discuss plans of collaboration between the government of Cameroon and UCP-SARnet on education of future community leaders.

  • Gold Award - 2003 (International Youth Award Scheme, Scotland – presented by Prince Edward and Prince Harry)
  •  Award for Community Development – 2004 (University of Douala, Cameroon)
  •  Global Care Award - 2008 (United Planet, Gambia & USA)
  • Certificate of Appreciation - 2011 (Community Based Research, Canada)
  • Award of Emerging Leader - 2011 (World Youth Alliance, New York)
  • Leadership Award - 2013 (ASU Dept. of Psychology, USA)
  • Certificate of Appreciation - 2014 (Amnesty International, USA)